IN BRIEF: Hester not too festive
BY NEIL HAYES firstname.lastname@example.org
Devin Hester was in no mood to celebrate his NFL-record-tying 13th return for a touchdown after a disappointing 23-20 loss Sunday to the Seattle Seahawks.
''It hasn't hit me yet,'' a dejected Hester said. ''I can't get excited about it coming off a loss.''
Hester fielded a punt late in the fourth quarter, picked up some blocks and headed up the left sideline. Once he turned the corner, there was no catching him. The 89-yard return narrowed the Bears' deficit to three with 1:54 left.
The Bears had used all their timeouts, so after a failed onside kick, the Seahawks were able to run out the clock.
''If we can get him to the sideline, with his speed, nobody is going to catch him,'' Corey Graham said.
Hester tied the record set by Brian Mitchell despite 808 fewer returns. His second punt return for a touchdown this season was the ninth of his career, tying him with Mitchell for second all-time, one behind Eric Metcalf. The 89-yarder equaled the longest punt return of his career.
''That was big for Devin,'' coach Lovie Smith said. ''We rely on our special teams quite a bit, but it was a little too late.''What return-
Earl Bennett has had several good downfield blocks, but nothing that compared to the crunching blow he put on Seahawks punter Jon Ryan on Hester's 89-yard punt return.
''I mean, I wasn't trying to kill the guy or nothing,'' Bennett said. ''I'm playing football, you know- ''
Bears kicker Robbie Gould came off the sideline to see if Ryan was OK and was quickly followed by the Bears' and Seahawks' medical staffs. Ryan remained down for several minutes before being helped from the field.
''It sucks when you get one returned on you like that, especially when you don't remember it,'' Ryan said. Williams 'comfortable'
Former starting left tackle Chris Williams said playing guard for the first time in his NFL career felt natural.
''I felt comfortable,'' he said. ''We have to get more communication and do a better job of letting Olin [Kreutz] know what's going on and playing better football. That's what it comes down to.''
Matt Forte benefitted from a solid block from Williams while scoring on a six-yard touchdown run early in the game. It was Forte's sixth touchdown.
''He did a hell of a job,'' Kreutz said. ''Chris is a smart football player, and he's going to be good wherever you put him. He came out there and took it on his shoulders and played well."Short-yardage back
When the Bears needed to pick up a key first down on fourth-and-one late in the game, it wasn't Forte who got the call but Chester Taylor, who burst off right tackle for 24 yards.
Short yardage has been a big problem. On nine goal-to-go chances from the 1, for example, the Bears are 0-for-9.
''I seem to be,'' Taylor said when asked if he was the new short-yardage back. ''I had some success. The offensive line did a great job on that play.''Bear necessities
Brian Iwuh started for Lance Briggs, who was held out because of a high ankle sprain, and had a game-high nine tackles.
?Caleb Hanie reclaimed his backup quarterback spot. Todd Collins, who started against the Carolina Panthers and threw four interceptions, was listed as the third quarterback.
Â*?Devin Aromashodu caught two passes for 40 yards. They were his first receptions since he had five for 71 yards in the season-opening win over the Detroit Lions.