THE X-FACTOR: Falcons WR Devin Hester

Wide receiver Devin Hester, the Falcons’ new secret weapon when the season began, is a known commodity in Cincinnati.

Hester, as a member of the Chicago Bears, had a career-high 101 yards receiving on nine catches in a 45-10 win over the Bengals in 2009 in Cincinnati.

“Well, we’ve had a chance to watch Devin and have played against Devin a few times,” Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis said.

Hester caught five passes for 99 yards in his debut with the Falcons and will be the X-factor when the Falcons face the Bengals at 1 p.m. at Paul Brown Stadium.

“I think (Falcons wide receivers coach) Terry (Robiskie) does a great job of getting the most out of guys,” Lewis said. “He’s really turned him into a playmaking receiver.”

With the New Orleans Saints setting up safety Jairus Byrd more than 20 yards beyond the line of scrimmage in order to keep Julio Jones and Roddy White from getting open deep, Hester worked underneath against man-to-man coverage.

After dropping his first pass, he didn’t drop another.

“When we got in rhythm when were in (a four-wide receiver set), it did look good,” Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said. “I’m sure the size of it will be determined by the flow of the game, but we will definitely have a (four wide receivers) package.”

During free agency, Hester pleaded with the Falcons to let him prove that he could play wide receiver after the Bears demoted him last season.

“We have four or five guys, and we can put a lot of stress on the defense,” Hester said. “We just have to continue to put pressure on the defense and make sure that when the ball comes our way, we make the plays that need to be made.”

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