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(Sunday, October 16th)
Final Score: Chicago 39, Minnesota 10
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Devin Hester scored on a 48-yard bomb from Jay Cutler and added yet another special teams touchdown, highlighting the Bears' 39-10 romp over the sputtering Vikings.
Hester's 98-yard kickoff return extended his NFL record for combined TDs on kick returns with 16. He also caught five passes for 91 yards before leaving early with a chest injury.
Cutler added another touchdown pass to Dane Sanzenbacher and finished with 267 yards on 21-of-31 throws for Chicago (3-3), which rebounded quickly from Monday's 24-13 loss at Detroit.
Adrian Peterson was limited to 39 yards and a score on 12 carries, while Donovan McNabb had little success before getting benched amidst the blowout.
Minnesota, coming off its first win of the season against Arizona, quickly went in the hole when Hester got behind the secondary and hauled in Cutler's 48-yard heave just 2:43 after the opening kickoff.
Adam Podlesh pinned the Vikings at their own five-yard line later in the first quarter, and Stephen Paea sacked McNabb in the end zone for two points.
The safety resulted in a short field for Chicago, and Marion Barber capped a quick six-play, 56-yard drive with a three-yard draw to paydirt.
Ryan Longwell's 37-yard field goal got the visitors on the board early in the second, but a three-and-out and an 18-yard punt set the Bears up at the Vikings' 33-yard line.
Hester moved the chains with a 23-yard grab on 3rd-and-13, and on the next play, Sanzenbacher brought one down in the back of the end zone.
Robbie Gould got enough behind a 51-yard field goal just before halftime for a healthy 26-3 cushion.
Peterson went in from four yards out 4 1/2 minutes into the third, but Hester countered with his first kickoff return since Nov. 25, 2007, against Denver.
The speedster received the ball between the hash marks, split a gap along the right side and shed an arm tackle en route to the 98-yard TD.
"The shocking part for us is that people still kick to him," Cutler said of his teammate. "He is such a threat. We know if he gets a shot there's a good chance he can take it to the house. It's fun."
Gould booted kicks of 26 and 22 yards to account for the final margin.
After the latter kick, Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier benched McNabb in favor of rookie Christian Ponder, the 12th overall pick in this year's draft. While McNabb completed a respectable 19-of-24 passes for 177 yards, he led the Vikings to just one touchdown drive. Ponder had 99 yards on 9-of-17 throws.
"The kid had to get some reps. In that situation, [Frazier] wanted to get him some work," said McNabb, who said he expected to start next week.
Cutler was sacked once after suffering through 18 sacks in the first five weeks...Bears running back Matt Forte compiled 123 yards from scrimmage...Percy Harvin led Minnesota with seven catches for 78 yards...Minnesota last prevailed in Chicago via a 34-31 verdict in 2007.
10/17 01:20:54 ET