Bears’ Justin Fields makes first start in preseason finale
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) – Justin Fields is exactly where the Chicago Bears hoped he would be at the end of the preseason.
All coach Matt Nagy will say is that they feel good about where the Bears are with their quarterbacks, a group that includes Andy Dalton who is expected to start Game 1 and veteran Nick Foles as well. as the 11th overall pick at Fields.
Foles threw a 54-yard touchdown pass to Jesper Horsted with 6:51 left, and the Bears held off the Tennessee Titans 27-24 to end the preseason on Saturday night.
Horsted, a tight end who played at Princeton, finished with three touchdowns and 104 receiving yards, capturing all five passes thrown to him. His first touchdown came from Fields on his first start with the other two from Foles in the second half.
“Big picture, we like where it is,” Nagy said of Fields. “He did everything we asked him to do.
The Ohio State rookie had veteran Jason Peters working the left tackle for 21 snaps with the other starters on the offensive line ahead of him. With the help of back-to-back defensive penalties, he hit Horsted in the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown pass in the last minute for a 14-10 halftime lead for the Bears (2-1) .
“No one else could have had this ball except maybe my other teammate…” said Horsted. “Just enough space for me to put both feet in and out of bounds.” But no defender could have had the ball.
Fields finished 7 of 10 for 54 yards.
Tennessee (2-1) had a few late opportunities to equalize or win. The Titans turned him on the downs with 1:32 to go, and the game ended with them stuck in their 20 after a run play.
The Titans played with coach Mike Vrabel watching from home, quarantined since testing positive for COVID-19 on August 22. He had company with wide receivers coach Rob Moore and offensive line assistant Jason Houghtaling among 10 Titans not at this game due to NFL protocols.
“I’m sure I’ll get texts when I get back to the locker room,” Titans defensive coordinator Shane Bowen said of Vrabel not at the game.
Back-to-back NFL point guard Derrick Henry finished the preseason without touching the field. In uniform, he was looking sideways. Left tackle Taylor Lewan and left guard Rodger Saffold played the first two sets.
Foles came in for the third quarter and completed his first eight assists, his seventh a 6-yard pass to Horsted for a 21-10 lead with 9:01 left in the third.
Matt Barkley, a rotating series with Logan Woodside competing to support Ryan Tannehill, started the Titans rally, leading them to 80 yards before Javian Hawkins scored on a 1-yard touchdown rush. Woodside threw a 6-yard touchdown pass that saw the Titans lead 24-21 early in the fourth.
ADDITIONAL COACH: John Streicher, the Titans’ football development coordinator, handled the game decisions without Vrabel. He went there twice in fourth and 1 and hit touchdowns. Mekhi Sargent scored on a one-yard run early in the second, and Woodside hit Cameron Batson for TD in the fourth.
Streicher also won when he challenged the decision to have a catch on the third down of a series for the Bears in the second quarter.
CHICAGO D: The Bears had two interceptions. Linebacker Danny Trevathan ended Tennessee’s second possession by knocking out Barkley. Trevis Gipson slapped Woodside’s arm as he was throwing, and Tre Roberson caught the pass and ran 27 yards for the tying touchdown midway through the second quarter.
MEMORY OF REESE: The Titans wore a blue sticker with the initials “FR” on the back of their helmets in honor of their former general manager Floyd Reese, who died last week. Reese remains the most successful general manager in franchise history and made the Titans’ only Super Bowl team roster.
HEY NASHVILLE: Five-time United States and two-time World Champion figure skater Nathan Chen was at the game and updated the US Figure Skating Instagram story. Nashville hosts the US Figure Skating Championships in January.
HELP WAVERLY: The Titans hosted the Waverly Central High School and college football teams after the flash floods on August 21. The Titans donated $ 50,000 to a disaster fund and also pledged $ 150,000 in in-kind donations. They will also deliver training equipment, soccer balls and other equipment next week and provide washers and dryers. They also offered the use of the Nissan Stadium for a home game later this season.
FOLLOWING: Chicago visits the Los Angeles Rams in the season opener on September 12. Tennessee welcomes Arizona on September 12.