There's no more exciting play than watching a return for a touchdown. And no one does it quite like Devin Hester of the Chicago Bears.
Hester, who has already returned eight kicks for TDs in about a year-and-a-half in the NFL, is a marked man. The Seahawks can not afford to have him running wild if they want to beat the Bears today.
The Seahawks faced Hester twice last year – once in the regular season and again in the playoffs – and kept him in check.
In the regular season loss, Hester had five punt returns for 45 yards and did not return a kickoff.
In the playoffs, Hester was able to return only three of the Seahawks' five kickoffs, averaging a pedestrian 17.7 per return, down almost 10 yards from his season average. On punt returns, the Seahawks were even better. Hester, who averaged 12.8 yards in the regular season, average 1.7 yards on three returns and fumbled three times.
I talked to punter Ryan Plackemeier this week and he said he's been aware of Hester ever since his college days at Wake Forrest (Hester played at Miami). He said the key is to get plenty of hang time on punts and to keep Hester moving – if he's lined up right, kick it left, etc.
"We came out of those games pretty good," Plackemeier said. "If you don't get enough hang time, if you don't hit a good enough punt, if you put it left when you are supposed to put it right, any guy in the league can take one back on you. He has done it more so than other guys and we do have to be careful.
"My goal for this game is to hit the ball the best I can. Every game I'm trying to put enough hang time on it to give our guys a chance to get down there."