Justin Fields Makes His 1st Start, Bears Beat Titans 27-24
Justin Fields final preseason stats: 30/49. 276 pass yards. 92 rush yards. 3 TD. 0 INT. 96.98 passer rating.
By TERESA M. WALKER | AP Sports Writer
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Justin Fields is right 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 with where the Bears are with their quarterbacks, a group that includes Andy Dalton set to start the opener and veteran Nick Foles along with the 11th overall pick in 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 wrap the preseason Saturday night.
Horsted, a tight end who played at Princeton, finished with three TDs and 104 yards receiving, catching all five passes thrown to him. His first TD came from Fields in his first start with the other two from Foles in the second half.
"Big picture, we love where he's at," Nagy said of Fields. "He's done everything we've asked him to do."
The rookie out of Ohio State had veteran Jason Peters working at left tackle for 21 snaps with the other starters on the offensive line in front of him. With help from back-to-back defensive penalties, he hit Horsted in the end zone for a 20-yard TD pass in the final minute for a 14-10 halftime lead for the Bears (2-1).
Great pass. Great catch. 👌@justnfields hits @JHorsted for 6!#CHIvsTEN | #DaBears pic.twitter.com/MsdGkK8fMA— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) August 29, 2021
"No one else could have got that ball except maybe my other teammate ..." Horsted said. "Just enough space that I can get both feet in and go out of bounds. But no defender could've got the ball."
Fields finished 7 of 10 for 54 yards.
Tennessee (2-1) had a couple of late chances to tie or win. The Titans turned it over on downs with 1:32 left, and the game ended with them stuck inside their 20 after a run play.
The Titans played with coach Mike Vrabel watching from home, quarantined since testing positive for COVID-19 on Aug. 22. He had company with wide receivers coach Rob Moore and offensive line assistant Jason Houghtaling among 10 Titans not at this game because of NFL protocols.
"I'm sure I'm going to have some text messages when I go back in the locker room," Titans defensive coordinator Shane Bowen said of Vrabel not being at the game.
Derrick Henry, the NFL's back-to-back rushing leader, finished the preseason without touching the field. In uniform, he watched from the sideline. Left tackle Taylor Lewan and left guard Rodger Saffold played the first two series.
Foles came in for the third quarter and completed his first eight passes, his seventh a 6-yard TD pass to Horsted for a 21-10 lead with 9:01 left in the third.
Matt Barkley, rotating series with Logan Woodside competing to back up Ryan Tannehill, started the Titans' rally, driving them 80 yards before Javian Hawkins scored on a 1-yard TD run. Woodside threw a 6-yard TD pass that put the Titans up 24-21 early in the fourth.
John Streicher, the Titans' coordinator of football development, handled game decisions with Vrabel out. He went for it twice on fourth-and-1 and came up with touchdowns. Mekhi Sargent scored on a 1-yard run early in the second, and Woodside hit Cameron Batson for the go-ahead TD in the fourth.
Streicher also won when he challenged the ruling of a completed catch on third down on a Bears' series in the second quarter.
The Bears came up with two interceptions. Linebacker Danny Trevathan ended Tennessee's second possession, picking off Barkley. Trevis Gipson hit Woodside's arm as he threw, and Tre Roberson picked off the pass and ran 27 yards for the tying touchdown midway through the second quarter.
Chicago visits the Los Angeles Rams in the season opener Sept. 12.
Tennessee hosts Arizona on Sept. 12.
More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
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