Chargers rookie wide receiver Andre Patton recorded his first two regular season NFL receptions last week in Miami, each catch moving the chains for the Bolts offense on third down.
After multiple injuries to the team’s receivers, Patton has been thrust into a contributing role after catching 15 passes for 161 yards and three touchdowns over the past two preseasons. In his third season with the Chargers but his first on an NFL active roster, Patton said he “finally (has) a good feel for the (offensive) scheme and how we like to run our plays.”
“Andre Patton showed up last week and made some plays and will probably be asked to even more now,” said quarterback Philip Rivers, who targeted Patton three times against the Dolphins.
Of Rivers, Patton said, “It’s good to have a leader like that.”
“He’s always gonna put the ball in (your hands),” Patton said. “He’s gonna tell you what to do, worse comes to worst.”
In addition to learning from Rivers, Patton has leaned on fellow wide receiver Keenan Allen, who currently leads the league in receptions (tied with New Orleans WR Michael Thomas) and yards receiving.
Patton said he “learned a lot of things from (Allen) this offseason, such as “how to break down film and defenders and little things like that off the field.”
Allen’s “work ethic, the amount of film (he watches), (and) the amount of studying (he does),” things that Patton said often go unnoticed by the public, are what makes the veteran receiver great.
The 25-year-old wideout from Rutgers University described the Chargers receiving corps as “a strong group.”
“It really doesn’t matter who’s in the spot,” Patton said. “We’re going to be able to handle our job and do what we’re supposed to do.”
Patton also mentioned that the NFL is a tough league where injuries happen, so “the next man has to be prepared and be ready.”
“We do a great job of preparing the guys,” Patton said, adding that “it felt good being able to contribute” against the Dolphins.
The first reception of Patton’s NFL career came on third down with 1:02 remaining in the first half, a short Rivers pass to the left that Patton took for 15 yards.
The Chargers would score a touchdown on the following play.
Patton didn’t think about the personal importance of the catch, he said, until reaching the sidelines after the play.
On Wednesday, he said that he didn’t get to keep the ball as a memento because it was a third-down conversion, but joked, “maybe if I go ask for it (I can keep it), we’ll see.”
Patton’s other reception in the game, a seven-yard pass from backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor, gave the Bolts a first down with 2:25 to play in the contest, allowing Taylor to kneel his way to a Chargers victory on the final three plays of the afternoon.
Patton said he has “pictures and memories” to commemorate his milestone day, but most importantly, he said, his brother and one of his best friends were in attendance.
Whatever role he is asked to assume for the rest of the season, Patton says he is prepared.
"I’m ready,” Patton said. “I’ve been cooking some things up the past few years, so it’s going to be good to be able to show it.”