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Cordarrelle Patterson Stars in Return to Lead Falcons Over Jaguars

Cordarrelle Patterson posted his third multi-touchdown game of the season Sunday.
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One player really can make all the difference.

That player for the Atlanta Falcons is Cordarrelle Patterson. He's listed as a running back, but he does a little of everything, which has made him one of the best free agent bargains this season.

In his return from an ankle injury against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Patterson rushed for 108 yards. Not only did that set a new season high, it was a career best for the 30-year-old back.

Most importantly, he scored twice for a team without a touchdown in more than eight quarters, as the Falcons defeated the Jaguars  21-14 on Sunday.

Patterson received additional tape on his ankle during the game and was limping at times. Yet, he was once again Atlanta's best player. 

In addition to the rushing yards, Patterson also chipped in two receptions for 27 yards. For the fifth time this season, Patterson led the Falcons in yards from scrimmage with 135. 

Atlanta finally ended its streak of 29 possessions without a touchdown thanks to Patterson's seven-yard run in the final minute of the first quarter. 

Following a series of mistakes from the Jaguars, Patterson got back into the end zone with a 12-yard run midway through the second quarter.

With Patterson's return, the beleaguered Atlanta offensive line suddenly looked better. The unit held its blocks on running plays longer that it has maybe all season to create holes. Atlanta's 150 rushing yards is the most in 10 games this season. The Falcons also allowed only one sack.

Matt Ryan was a little better, too. He completed 19 of 29 passes for 190 yards with a touchdown and interception. Russell Gage caught Ryan's lone scoring pass.

But it was still Patterson that carried the Falcons. Heading into the fourth quarter, he was averaging more than eight yards per carry.

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As dominant as Patterson was, the Jaguars didn't make stopping the Falcons running game easy on themselves. Jacksonville had two giveaways and three penalties in the first half.

Jaguars running back James Robinson fumbled at the Jacksonville 29-yard line. A pair of defensive linemen came up with the big play for Atlanta, as Anthony Rush forced the fumble and Marlon Davidson recovered the loose ball.

The Falcons went three-and-out, but then thanks to a leverage penalty on Jacksonville's special teams, Atlanta received another opportunity with a first-and-10 at the 12. Patterson scored one play later.

Still, the Falcons were unable to run away with the game as has been the case throughout this season. Trevor Lawrence came alive and finished 23 for 42 with 228 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Lawrence led Jacksonville to 11 second-half points.

Ultimately, it was Jacksonville stopping itself and not Atlanta. The Jaguars committed a holding penalty at the Falcons 6-yard line on first-and-goal in the fourth quarter. After three incompletions into the end zone, Jacksonville settled for a field goal. 

On the ensuing Atlanta possession, the Jaguars appeared to have a third-down stop with 3:23 remaining, but a defensive holding penalty in the Jacksonville secondary gave Atlanta a first down. With the fresh set of downs, the Falcons ran another 54 seconds off the clock.

Dropped passes plagued Lawrence and the Jaguars offense on their final drive, which stalled at the Jacksonville 29-yard line.

The Falcons did just enough to win. It likely wouldn't have been nearly enough if not for the best day on the ground in Patterson's career.

With the victory, the Falcons moved to 5-6. There's still a lot to unpack from Week 12, but regardless of the results, Atlanta will be in a group of six NFC teams with either five or six wins as of Monday.

Atlanta has plenty to play for, as does Patterson.

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