Devin Hester asks, then receives
BY SEAN JENSEN firstname.lastname@example.org October 2, 2012 9:46PM
Chicago Bears wide receiver Devin Hester (23) celebrates his touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys with Brandon Marshall (15) and Chilo Rachal (62) during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Updated: November 4, 2012 6:23AM
Devin Hester, who had two catches for 27 yards in the Bears’ first three games, wanted more opportunities.
But he didn’t walk into offensive coordinator Mike Tice’s office, knock his pencils off the desk and make any demands.
“It was kind of a jokey-joke type of thing,” Hester said, “but we were on the same page, that I wanted to be more involved in the offense.”
Against the Dallas Cowboys on ‘‘Monday Night Football,’’ Hester was a prominent part of the offensive game plan.
“[Tice] came to me and said I was going to be one of the stars of the game,” Hester said. “That pretty much told me that he was going to give me opportunities to make plays.”
The onus was on Hester, and he came through.
The Bears’ defense was dominant, intercepting five passes and returning two for touchdowns, but Hester made the most important play in a solid game by the offense.
At the start of the second half with the Bears up 10-7, Tice’s call was a play-action fake. Hester, running down the right sideline, faked as if he were stopping, getting rookie cornerback Morris Claiborne to freeze, then bolted for the goalpost. But the pocket collapsed on quarterback Jay Cutler, so he had to release the ball sooner than he wanted. Cutler lofted the ball toward the end zone, and Hester dived and hauled it in.
The ruling was a touchdown, which was upheld after a review.
“It was a momentum swing, one of those things that gave all of us confidence,” Hester said. “Coach Tice with a great play call, and Jay with a great throw, putting the ball in the right spot so I could go get it. It was textbook.”
That wasn’t all the Cowboys’ previously top-ranked defense gave up. There was a complete breakdown in the fourth quarter when Brandon Marshall was left uncovered and scored a 31-yard touchdown.
Hester was targeted four times, catching three passes for 38 yards.
“We gave up those big plays,” Cowboys safety Danny McCray said. “In the secondary, we preach making them go the long way. ... Nobody is feeling too good on how we did as a unit.”
Hester said he and Tice understand each other.
“That’s the great thing about Tice,’’ Hester said. ‘‘He’s willing to drop his ego and communicate more with the players. When you have a coach like that, the players will do whatever it takes.”