Devin Hester came close to breaking two returns
BY ADAM L. JAHNS Staff Reporter December 29, 2013 10:39PM
A block there or cutback here, and the NFL record for most return touchdowns could have been had by Bears kick returner Devin Hester. He looked that close at times in the Bears’ 33-28 loss against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
Hester opened the game with a 39-yard kickoff return and then ignited the Bears’ strong second half with a 49-yard punt return after a three-and-out by the Packers to open the third quarter.
“The biggest thing on my mind was just getting our offense good field position,” Hester said. “I know when I give our offense good field position, we usually put points on the board.”
But that record-setting 20th return touchdown was a goal of Hester’s. He said so just a few days ago. He said it would be sad not to do it in a Bears uniform, knowing his future isn’t guaranteed because his contract expires.
If Sunday was his last game with the Bears, how does he want to be remembered?
“That I was going to come out here and leave it all on the line,” said Hester, who had five kickoff returns for 127 yards. “At the end of the day, they remember the last game and they know that this last game I put in my all and I fought to the wire. Until the last kick, I gave it my all.”
Bears receiver Brandon Marshall said he was “glad” that Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers returned from his broken collarbone.
“We had their best shot,” Marshall said. “You want to control your destiny and you want a team’s best shot.”
Chris Conte and Tim Jennings both ended methodical drives by the Packers with interceptions of Rodgers in the first half. But the Bears said they didn’t see much rust from Rodgers, who was playing his first game since Nov. 4. He was sacked three times and completed 25 of 39 passes for 318 yards and an 85.2 passer rating.
Of course, Rodgers’ game-winning 48-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-eight to receiver Randall Cobb in the final minute — in which Rodgers eluded a blitz to get off the throw — was devastating.
“He was Aaron Rodgers throughout the game,” Jennings said. “He made the plays when it counts.”
Extra plays for Eben
When Jordan Mills injured his left foot on the first drive of the game, Eben Britton became the Bears’ right tackle.
It was a first for the first-year Bear, who had played the role of blocking tight end all year because no starting lineman had missed a snap. Coach Marc Trestman praised his performance, too.
“That’s my job,” said Britton, who didn’t take a first-team snap all week. “I’d be doing every guy a disservice if I went in there unprepared. Every week I prepare like I’m starting.”
Mills, who was in a walking boot and had crutches, said he will have his foot examined further Monday.
Contributing: Patrick Finley