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108-Yard Dash Sets Record

November 14, 2005|From Associated Press

CHICAGO — What the heck? Nathan Vasher caught the missed field goal deep in the end zone on the final play of the first half and decided to bring it out.

Seconds later, he was in the NFL record books with the longest play in league history -- an almost unimaginable, rambling 108-yard touchdown return that stunned the San Francisco 49ers and propelled the Chicago Bears to a 17-9 win on a blustery Sunday.

"I've never really seen it work, but we always feel like we can get big plays like that," Vasher said. "I'm still speechless."

When Joe Nedney's 52-yard attempt was short and wide, Vasher caught the ball over his shoulder, then after a brief hesitation sprinted to the 15, reversed his field with a spin move and picked up blockers.

Getting blocks down the sideline , Vasher weaved through the 49ers for a 7-3 halftime lead.

The previous longest play was Chris McAlister's 107-yard return with a missed field goal for Baltimore in 2002.

The Bears (6-3) have won five in a row, their longest winning streak in a season since 2001, when they won six in a row.

First-round pick Cedric Benson, making his first NFL start in place of injured running back Thomas Jones, was wheeled off the field in the second quarter because of a sprained right knee. Benson was standing after the game, wearing a brace and awaiting an MRI exam today.

That left the Bears with one tailback, and Adrian Peterson responded with 120 yards in 24 carries. Peterson's 34-yard run and two penalties on the 49ers -- for pass interference and roughing the passer -- set up Peterson's seven-yard touchdown run early in the fourth that made it 14-6.

When Bobby Wade fumbled a punt for the third time in the game, the 49ers recovered at Chicago's two-yard line. After two runs, the 49ers (2-7) were called for 12 men in the huddle, then for delay of game before Nedney hit a 29-yard field goal.

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