The NFL’s Wild Card weekend began on Saturday and delivered one of the most unbelievable second-half comebacks in league history during the evening game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Los Angeles Chargers.
The story of the night goes to Jaguars kicker Riley Patterson who, in the last seconds of the game, lined up a 36-yard field goal with his team losing by two points. After being down by 27 points in the second quarter, the Jaguars had inexplicably reeled the Chargers back and now the team’s fortune was placed in the hands of 23-year-old Patterson and his holder Logan Cooke.
RILEY PATTERSON WINS IT FOR THE JAGUARS WHAT A COMEBACK #DUUUVAL
— RetroMinnesota (@RetroMinnesota) January 15, 2023
As Logan Cooke reminded Patterson, this kick was nothing out of the ordinary. A 36-yard field goal from the right hash is something that the pair has practiced all season long, a spot that NFL kickers rarely miss. So, it was with that in mind that Cooke gave a quick pep talk to Patterson, in hopes of helping his kicker drown out the noise of 70,000 screaming fans in their home stadium, according to The Florida Times-Union:
“I told him it was just another Wednesday. We always practice kicks from the right hash, to that end zone, on Wednesdays.”
Patterson also found another way to silence his fear and dial in to hit the biggest kick of his life. After Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley called a timeout to ice the kicker, Patter pulled a hidden Cross necklace from under his shirt and displayed it proudly on the front of his jersey and around his neck. This same cross necklace seemed to play a major role in Patterson maintaining his confidence and was paraded around after the game with Patterson holding it above his head for all to see.
After kicking the game winner for the @Jaguars, Riley Patterson took off his cross necklace and held it up for the camera. 🏻 #DUUUVAL pic.twitter.com/brXVF7bI7E
— Ellie Shreve (@ellie_shreve) January 15, 2023
Even after the game, during the numerous interviews that the young kicker was asked to give, the cross remained proudly displayed across his neck, which Houston Cristian Football shared, saying:
“WHATS REALLY CLUTCH ABOUT RILEY PATTERSON’S GAME WINNING FIELD GOAL IS HIM IMMEDIATELY REACHING FOR HIS CROSS TO GIVE ALL GLORY TO GOD.”
WHATS REALLY CLUTCH ABOUT RILEY PATTERSON'S GAME WINNING FIELD GOAL IS HIM IMMEDIATELY REACHING FOR HIS CROSS TO GIVE ALL GLORY TO GOD.
WHATS SAD IS THE CAMERAS AVOIDED LETTING THAT MOMENT OCCUR .
LIKE A SOLDIER ON MISSION HE JUST BROUGHT THE CROSS TO THE PODIUM -Matthew 5:16 pic.twitter.com/LjJJx28IRd
— Houston Christian Football (@hcstangs_FB) January 15, 2023
Following a rough start to the season, Patterson solidified his role as the starting kicker for the Jaguars by the end of the season and proved why that spot was given to him by making the game winner on Saturday, Jaguars coach Doug Peterson said as much after the game:
“This is a big moment for him. For him to make that kick, under the circumstances is great for him and his career. I’m proud of him for battling through a little bit of a shaky start. He’s really been locked in at the end of the year and there’s nothing greater than making a kick at the end.”
Next, Jacksonville will head off to play the Kansas City Chiefs, where they will be the underdogs yet again against a team that many experts predicted to make a deep run to the Super Bowl at the beginning of the season.
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