The Bears return to Arizona Sunday for the first time since 2006 when they scored three late touchdowns to turn a 23-3 deficit into a miraculous 24-23 victory on Monday Night Football.
Devin Hester capped that rally by returning a punt 83 yards for a touchdown, something that special teams coordinator Dave Toub would love to see again in this weekend’s game.
“You always want to win a game and if it takes a punt return or kick return then obviously that’s something that would be a plus,” Toub said Thursday after practice in the Walter Payton Center.
Hester, who holds the NFL record with 17 kick return touchdowns, has not padded the mark this season. But he’s flashed his old form the past two weeks with a 21-yard punt return against the Vikings and a 24-yard punt return and season-long 40-yard kickoff return versus the Packers.
“He’s being more aggressive,” Toub said. “Two weeks ago we asked him to be more aggressive to the ball and attack it and show people the real Devin Hester, and he’s responding. The last two weeks he’s looked good, and hopefully he takes even another step this week.”
Sunday’s game pits two of the NFL’s top punt returners. While Hester led the league with a 16.2-yard average and two touchdowns last season, the Cardinals’ Patrick Peterson was second with a 15.9-yard average and four TDs, tying the NFL record that Hester also shares.
“He’s by far the best punt returner that we’re going to face all year,” Toub said. “The guy’s extremely dangerous. I didn’t have to show a lot of clips before he got the guys’ attention. But they knew going in our hands are going to be full.”
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