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Hester's return eased the sting after the Bears again were stopped at the goal line for the second time this season when choosing not to go for the field goal. It happened late in the third quarter after Julius Peppers blocked Mason Crosby's 37-yard field goal.
The Bears took over on the 18 and marched to the Packers 1, only to come up short again. Cutler fired a 5-yard pass to a kneeling Bennett between defenders on third down, and the officials ruled Tramon Williams touched Bennett before he leaned over the goal line.
So coach Lovie Smith had to decide to kick the tying field goal or go for the touchdown.
Just as he did in the opener, he went for the end zone. This time, Desmond Clark dropped a potential TD pass and Chicago came away empty-handed.
Hester, however, showed his old explosiveness. He took a punt at the 38, broke up the right sideline and didn't stop until he reached the end zone in a familiar scene, albeit one that hadn't played in a while. It was 12th time he's returned a kickoff or punt for a touchdown and the first since Dec. 30, 2007.
"We've been waiting for Devin to come back and he was back tonight," Smith said. "Of course it was outstanding on that one touchdown run, but even before that it just felt like every time he went back there he had a chance to score."
The Bears wore throwback 1940s jerseys to honor the Monsters of the Midway. They also honored George Blanda, who died Monday, with a moment of silence before the game.
And they made a surprising move, holding out defensive tackle Tommie Harris for reasons that were not immediately clear.
A three-time Pro Bowl pick, Harris was benched for a game last season and suspended for one in 2008 because of detrimental conduct. He has also been limited by knee and hamstring injuries over the past four years, although he was not listed on the Bears' injury report leading up to Monday's game.
He has insisted he is healthy, but he is also off to a slow start.
NOTES: Bears LS Patrick Mannelly set a club record by playing in his 192nd game, moving head of Steve McMichael. ... The Bears held out struggling receiver Devin Aromashodu, while left tackle Chris Williams and safety Major Wright sat out with hamstring injuries.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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