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NFL: Chicago 39, Minnesota 10

  |   Oct. 16, 2011 at 11:46 PM
CHICAGO, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Devin Hester opened the scoring with a 48-yard catch Sunday and returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown in leading Chicago to a 39-10 rout of Minnesota.

The Bears evened their record at 3-3, but they still trail undefeated Green Bay by three games in the NFC Central. The Vikings again struggled offensively and fell to 1-5.

Chicago raced to a 26-3 halftime lead, getting two touchdown passes from Jay Cutler, a 3-yard scoring run from Marion Barber, the first of Robbie Gould's three field goals and a safety.

Cutler completed 21-of-31 passes for 267 yards. He hit Hester with a 48-yarder on Chicago's first drive of the game.

Hester provided the highlight of the contest when he fielded a kickoff at the 2-yard line and took it back all the way to give Chicago a 33-10 lead with 10:09 left in the third period.

It was Hester's fifth career kickoff return for a score and his first since 2007. Earlier this season Hester set the NFL's all-time punt return touchdown record with his 11th, snapping a tie with Eric Metcalf.

Minnesota's only touchdown came on a 4-yard run by Adrian Peterson that preceded Hester's kickoff return.

Minnesota quarterback Donovan McNabb completed 19-of-24 passes for 177 yards and was relieved by rookie Christian Ponder in the fourth quarter. Ponder, making his first pro appearance after being the 12th player taken in this year's draft, went 9-of-17 for 99 yards without an interception.

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