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A look back at Devin Hester's mind-boggling game against the Buccaneers

A good memory from a lost season.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

This time of year is slow for the NFL, so you can either look ahead or look back. Let's take the latter course for a moment.

With Justin Hardy and Leonard Hankerson landing in Atlanta, it's fair to say that Devin Hester will have a smaller role on offense than he did just a year ago. When we're trying to figure out exactly how valuable he'll be for this Falcons team, though, you need only look back at his electrifying game against the Buccaneers last year.

In that game, where the Falcons absolutely blew out Tampa Bay by a score of 56-14, Hester did some of the finest work of his career with very limited touches. He reeled in a 25 yard reception, scored his first career rushing touchdown on a pretty 20 yard gallop, forced a fumble and blew past the Buccaneers en route to a record-breaking 62 yard punt return touchdown, the 20th of his career. That's a damn remarkable game for a guy who touched the ball twice on offense and a handful of times on special teams. You can watch highlights right here.

I've seen a handful of people insinuate that Hester's 2014 season was merely so-so, and if you're basing that off of his offensive contributions alone, I guess you can make that case. Considering he was no better than the fourth option in the passing game and he was mighty successful in the return game, though, and the team sorely needed that.

Now let's look ahead again. It's fair to wonder whether Hester will survive through the end of his contract in 2016, but you shouldn't bet against him being a legitimate, dangerous contributor for this Falcons team in 2015, at the very least. As the Buccaneers game showed us, he doesn't need a lot of touches to help the offense, and he remains a justifiably revered returner.

What are your 2015 expectations for Hester?