Summer 2024

Bible verse gave Lions kicker Riley Patterson peace before game-winning field goal

As Detroit Lions kicker Riley Patterson prepared for his potential game-winning kick Sunday, he recited 2 Timothy 1:7: “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”

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He then drilled a 41-yard field goal to give the Lions a 41-38 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers as time expired.

“I love it, man. That’s the type of stuff that you dream about as a kicker, coming out here and making big kicks,” he told the Detroit News. “Your team needs it in big moments and that’s what you live for.”

Patterson converted all seven of his kicks in the game, including five extra points and a 33-yard field goal to open the scoring. Talking to the media after the game, the 24-year-old credited his faith in God, which has helped sustain him throughout his career, with keeping him calm when the game is on the line.

“Thinking about how much my God loves me gives me a little bit of peace going up for a big moment like that, so that’s really what I’m thinking about,” he said. “From there on out, you just count out the steps and go through the ball, and it’s over before you know it.”

The win moved the Lions to 7-2 on the season, tying them with the defending Super Bowl-champion Kansas City Chiefs for the second-best record in the NFL. His kick was one of a record-setting five that decided a game as time expired Sunday (and Monday night’s game made it six for Week 10). The previous record for a single day was three.

An undrafted free agent out of the University of Memphis, Patterson’s NFL debut came as a member of the Lions in 2021. He joined the team mid-season after brief stints with the Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots. Despite making 13 of 14 field goals, Detroit waived Patterson before the 2022 season.

He found peace amidst the uncertainty knowing that God was directing his steps.

“I remember just sitting down and saying, ‘God, we’re here for You,'” Patterson said on the Sports Spectrum Podcast in July. “‘Wherever you’re gonna take us — if You’re not going to take us anywhere — You are our rock. This is what it is. We’re not dependent on this career. Financially, we’re not dependent on this. Wherever You put us, whatever You’re gonna have us doing when we get there, we’re here for it.'”

The Jacksonville Jaguars claimed Patterson the next day, and in the wild-card round of the playoffs he capped off a 27-point comeback with another game-winning kick, also against the Chargers. He used that opportunity to hold up his cross necklace and give glory to God.


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Just when he had gotten settled in Jacksonville, he was sent back to Detroit in a trade before the season. He has only missed two kicks all year and is 12-of-13 from 30-plus yards.

At every step of his journey, Patterson has embraced God’s plan and timing.

“There’s no timing like God’s timing,” he said on the podcast. “Whenever you know it’s on His timing, that’s when I think I feel the most assured that it is Him working and not me trying to figure all this stuff out on my own. … Whenever He’s in charge is when the most amazing things happen.”

The Lions host the Chicago Bears (3-7) at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.

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