The Week 3 win by the Atlanta Falcons got me thinking a little bit about the movie* Inception*; there was so much going on in both the game and the movie that, unless you watched either a second time, there's plenty you likely missed.
While it was the great Leonardo DiCaprio who captivated countless fans with his performance in the science-fiction heist film, it was Falcons WR Devin Hester who stole the show on Thursday night, making NFL history with the 20th non-offensive TD of his brilliant career, a 62-yard punt return in the second quarter.
Within the 148 minutes of the film, Inception is filled with all kinds of plot twists, while the main storyline from Thursday night's game (193 minutes) revealed a dominating Falcons victory, which included some theatrics by Hester that were overshadowed by his remarkable high-stepping return into the record books.
Scene One (1st Qtr.): The Falcons offense scored on its opening drive of the game and when trying to add to the 7-0 lead on the second drive, Falcons TE Levine Toilolo had the ball stripped by Bucs CB Alterraun Verner, recovered by Bucs S Mark Barron, who began running the other way, taking the game's momentum with him, until Hester channeled his inner-cornerback, got defensive and took the ball back.
"I saw it from the side and Barron was looking more toward the field, so I knew I had an opportunity to knock it out," Hester said. "Fortunately, I got my hand on the ball and was able to knock it out and recover it. It was a big momentum swing for us."
Scene Two (2nd Qtr.): Falcons head coach Mike Smith highlighted Hester's forced fumble and recovery as his best play of the night, which preceded another Hester moment that was overlooked, his first-rushing TD as a Falcon, a 20-yard end-around score in the second quarter.
"It was a play that we saw on film, when the Bucs played the Rams and (St. Louis Rams WR) Tavon Austin hit them a couple times with it," Hester said. "We thought if we threw that into our bag of tricks, hopefully we'd be able to get one and fortunately, we did."
Included in his record-breaking night, Hester finished with one carry for 20 yards and a score, one reception for 25 yards, one tackle, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, one kickoff return for 29 yards and three punt returns, including the 62-yard TD.
During the historic punt return, Hester high-stepped into the end zone, honoring his mentor and friend, former Falcons CB Deion Sanders, carrying the ball that was later sent to Canton, OH, home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, where one day, Hester will be fitted for his own gold jacket, just like Deion has.