Updated: October 16, 2011 11:48PM
Between the long touchdown catch and an even bigger kickoff return, this was shaping up as a special night for Devin Hester.
Then, a chest injury cast a big cloud over it.
Hester set the tone with a 48-yard touchdown catch and scored on a career-best 98-yard kickoff return before leaving with a chest injury, and the Bears routed the Minnesota Vikings 39-10 on Sunday night at Soldier Field.
Jay Cutler threw for 267 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. Julius Peppers had two sacks, and the Bears (3-3) held Vikings star Adrian Peterson to 39 yards rushing.
But Hester’s injury dampened the mood on a night when they got a much-needed win.
That 48-yard TD pass from Cutler on Chicago’s first possession got the Bears started quickly as they grabbed a 26-3 halftime lead. Hester’s kickoff return early in the third quarter erased any chance the Vikings had at a comeback.
Peterson had just scored on a 4-yard run for the Vikings (1-5) when Hester took the kickoff and turned to his right. He was touched maybe once on the way to the end zone, making it 33-10. It was his first kickoff return for a touchdown since Nov. 25, 2007, against Denver.
Hester set a record with his 11th punt return for a touchdown against Carolina on Oct. 2, but the good feelings gave when to concern when the announcement came in early in the fourth that he was finished for the game.
Along with the big return, Hester had five catches for 91 yards.
Cutler, meanwhile, had all the time he needed and — for one game, anyway — avoided a big beating. Never mind that league sacks leader Jared Allen was lining up for the Vikings, the Bears’ maligned blockers held their ground.
That allowed Cutler to complete 21 of 31 passes while being sacked just once.
The defense did it’s job, too.
A surprise starter sitting out practice this week with a sprained left knee, Peppers registered two sacks and the Bears made things miserable in general for the Vikings.
Donovan McNabb threw for 177 yards, completing 19 of 24 passes before being lifted for Christian Ponder, but it was a brutal night for Peterson.