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Hester looks to build on record-breaking outing

Posted Nov 28, 2013

The Bears are hoping that Devin Hester can build on his record-breaking performance earlier this season against the Vikings in Sunday's rematch in Minnesota, but it won't be easy.

The Bears are hoping that Devin Hester can build on his record-breaking performance earlier this season against the Vikings in Sunday's rematch in Minnesota, but it won't be easy.

Inside the Metrodome, Hester likely will not get as many opportunities as he did Sept. 15 at Soldier Field when he set a Bears record with 249 yards on five kickoff returns in a 31-30 win.

Devin Hester returned a punt 62 yards for a touchdown last Sunday in St. Louis, but the play was nullified by a penalty.
"It's a different game than what we played them the first time," said special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis. "Because it's a dome, they've got a kicker (Blair Walsh) that can bomb it out of there and I'm sure that's what he's going to try to do to take [Hester] out of the game in one phase of it."

In the Bears' Week 2 win, Hester had clutch kickoff returns of 76 and 80 yards immediately after the Vikings had scored touchdowns on a 105-yard kickoff return and a 61-yard fumble return.

In the process, he broke his own single-game franchise record of 225 yards set in a 42-27 Monday night win over the Rams in St. Louis on Dec. 11, 2006. In that contest, he scored two touchdowns on kickoff returns of 94 and 96 yards.

Hester has four kick return TDs against the Vikings-the most versus any opponent-scoring on punt returns of 45, 89 and 64 yards and a 98-yard kickoff return.

Hester owns NFL records with 18 combined kick return touchdowns and 13 punt return TDs. He nearly added to those marks in last Sunday's loss to the Rams in St. Louis, but an apparent 62-yard punt return TD was nullified by a holding penalty against Craig Steltz.

"It was disappointing, no question," DeCamillis said. "It was a great read on his part. [Steltz] has made so many big blocks for him, it's hard to really be too upset at him. It's a deal where the guy started to fall down. Craig should have let him go, and he has before. He just didn't on that play."

Had the play counted, it would have enabled Hester to set an NFL record with his 20th return TD, snapping a tie with Deion Sanders. The mark also includes returns of fumbles and interceptions.

"It's disappointing," DeCamillis said. "We have five more games to get it done and hopefully we can. The most disappointing thing is it could have led to more success team-wise."

Hester won't be the only skilled return specialist on the field Sunday. The Vikings' Cordarrelle Patterson leads the NFL in kickoff returns with a 34.0-yard average. He has scored two touchdowns in returns of 105 yards against the Bears and 109 yards versus the Packers.

"I don't know that you're going to be able to knock every ball out of [the end zone for a touchback]," DeCamillis said. "We just have to make sure if we don't, we cover him. We saw how explosive he was in our first game. But he's continued it, no question."

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