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Hub Arkush: Forget all those defensive studs, Bears MVP is a special teamer

Who’s contributed more to the Bears this year than Cordarrelle Patterson?

Chicago Bears receiver Cordarrelle Patterson runs past Buccaneers saftey Jordan Whitehead during their game Thursday night at Soldier Field in Chicago.
Chicago Bears receiver Cordarrelle Patterson runs past Buccaneers saftey Jordan Whitehead during their game Thursday night at Soldier Field in Chicago.

I submit that through five weeks of this 2020 season Cordarrelle Patterson is the Bears Most Valuable Player.

He is in fact a three-time first-team All Pro and three-time second-team All Pro as a kickoff returner, and last season he won the award for both his return and coverage abilities as the best special teams player in the game.

He is currently the best in the NFL both returning kickoffs and covering kickoffs and punts as a gunner.

But Patterson has also been the Bears No. 2 running back and doubled as either the No. 3 or No. 4 wide receiver and made huge contributions from both positions.

In the Bears' miraculous opening-day comeback in Detroit, with just over 3:00 to play in the third quarter, the Lions kicked a 44-yard field goal to go up 23-6 and Patterson returned the ensuing kickoff 45 yards to set up the Bears near midfield, hitting them with a defibrillator and beginning their comeback.

Eight plays later on 4th-and-1 at the Lions' 10, Patterson went around left end for 3 yards and the first down, and three plays later Mitch Trubisky hit Jimmy Graham to make it a 23-13 game and put the Bears back in it.

In Atlanta, the Falcons took the opening kickoff of the second half in for a touchdown to go up 23-10 and the Bears looked like they were done until Cordarrelle Patterson returned the ensuing kickoff 40 yards to flip the field and light a fire under the Bears.

Yes, Trubisky threw the ugly pick three plays later that handed his job to Nick Foles, but the defense responded, holding the Falcons to 1 yard on three plays, forcing a field goal to keep it a two-score game at 26-10, and the Bears took off from there.

Last Thursday night, trailing Tampa with 2:05 to play in the first half, he took a swing pass 25 yards to the Bucs' 3 for the Bears first chunk play of the night, setting up Montgomery to go in on the next play and make it a 13-7 game.

A little over a minute later following the Kyle Fuller forced fumble, on 3rd-and-3 at the Bucs' 20, Patterson caught a Foles' pass in the left flat for 8 yards and the first down, and on the next play Jimmy Graham gave the Bears a 14-13 lead.

Making sure the Bears could keep the momentum Paterson took the opening kickoff of the second half 40 yards and the Bears actually dominated their first half of football all season.

Ask Peterson if he needs a permanent position or more touches and he will tell you, “I mean I’m always ready. That’s something I’ve been ready for my whole life.

“When my time comes, it comes. Whenever it comes, my number is called, I just go out there and be ready. Whenever it is, man, like I say, if it happens, it happens. If it don’t, it don’t. I’m going to still be me at the end of the day.”

As for his new role with the Bears as the No. 2 back now that Tarik Cohen has gone down, Patterson admits he’s energized.

“It’s fun, man," he said. "I just love getting the ball and just running. I remember last week, one of the big boys from the Giants tried to tackle me, he said bro, you run hard, bro, you hard to tackle. That’s what I’m going for, man. I’m just trying to run through a wall if I can.”

From the day Patterson landed in Chicago I can’t remember seeing him without a smile on his face and he appears to be one of the most popular and jovial guys in the locker room.

There is one concern with Patterson today and it is something he actually shares with Allen Robinson, the 29-year-old will be a free agent at the end of this season, he has significantly outplayed his two-year, $10 million deal, and you can bet he’ll have plenty of suitors if he’s allowed to get to free agency.

Should the Bears refuse to get Robinson a new deal, one would hope they at least make an effort to get something done with Patterson soon.

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