CLEVELAND – Impressive performances by Brian Hoyer, Jordan Howard and the defense led the Bears to a 21-7 win over the Browns in Thursday night's preseason finale in Cleveland.
With the victory, the Bears (1-3) avoided their first winless preseason since 2010.
The only player listed as a starter on the Bears' depth chart who opened Thursday night's game was receiver Kevin White, who missed his entire rookie season with a leg injury. The 2015 first-round pick from West Virginia finished with four receptions for 57 yards.
Hoyer delivered his best outing of the preseason, starting the game and completing 12 of 16 passes for 112 yards and a 93.8 passer rating before being replaced by third-stringer David Fales to begin the second half.
Howard rushed for a game-high 107 yards and one touchdown on 16 carries and caught two passes for 33 yards, all in the second half.
The Bears defense blanked the Browns over the final three quarters and held Cleveland to 187 total yards and a 20 percent success rate on third down (3-of-15) in the game.
Robbie Gould's 30-yard field goal gave the Bears a 3-0 lead on their second possession, capping an eight-play, 43-yard drive. Hoyer completed 3 of 4 passes, two to Cameron Meredith for 18 yards and one to White for 15 yards.
The Browns took a 7-3 lead late in the first quarter as Isaiah Crowell broke a tackle attempt by linebacker John Timu on a 4-yard touchdown run up in the middle. On the previous play from the 1, rookie outside linebacker Leonard Floyd dropped Crowell for a three-yard loss.
The TD came after the Browns had recovered a muffed punt at the Chicago 18. The punt hit the foot of returner B.J. Daniels after he had leaped over teammate De'Vante Bausby.
The Bears answered, taking a 9-7 lead on Ka'Deem Carey's 1-yard TD burst early in the second quarter. Gould missed the extra point attempt wide left.
White set up the TD, catching a 26-yard pass to the Cleveland 27 and drawing a 26-yard pass interference penalty on cornerback Mikell Everette that gave the Bears the ball at the 1.
The Bears defense then generated the only takeaway of the game as cornerback Jacoby Glenn stepped in front of Josh Gordon and picked off a Josh McCown pass.
Glenn returned the pick 14 yards to the Cleveland 49, setting up Gould's 43-yard field goal, which gave the Bears a 12-7 lead with 3:39 left in the first half.
The Browns had a chance to close the gap, but kicker Patrick Murray pushed a 31-yard field goal attempt wide right on the final play of the first half.
Gould's third field goal without a miss, a 27-yarder, widened the margin to 15-7 late in the third quarter. Howard, a rookie fifth-round pick from Indiana, rushed for 32 yards on five carries and caught a 31-yard pass, alertly getting open after Fales scrambled out of the pocket.
Howard capped the Bears' next possession by bursting around right end and powering into the end zone for a 16-yard TD. Gould's extra-point try was deflected, keeping the score at 21-7.