Fourteen days before the Bears open the regular season versus Atlanta, the team took the field in Nashville to face the Titans in the all-important third preseason game. Mike Glennon earned the start at quarterback versus Tennessee, and given the way he played in Chicago's 19-7 victory on Sunday afternoon, it's expected he'll remain atop the depth chart when the Falcons come to Soldier Field on September 10. Though that's not for a lack of competition from rookie Mitchell Trubisky.
Glennon was sharp and accurate during his two quarters of play against the Titans, putting together his best August performance. He completed 6 of 8 throws on Chicago's opening drive, a 96-yard march down the field that ended with Glennon throwing a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dion Sims. Three times on that drive the Bears faced a third down, all from seven yards or longer from the chains, and Glennon converted all three of them.
The veteran quarterback finished the game 11-for-18 for 134 yards and a touchdown, with no interceptions. Glennon completed passes to seven different targets in the win, and his quarterback rating of 102.5 against the Titans was his highest of the preseason. The Bears treated Tennessee as they would any regular-season opponent, with film study and a game plan in the week leading up to the contest, something they team didn't do in the first two weeks of the preseason. Glennon said that preparation was an asset for himself and his receivers, which assisted the strong offensive performance.
Trubisky came in at the start of the third quarter, and the Bears offense continued to move the ball effectively. The rookie stayed in the pocket more on Sunday than he had in past games versus Denver and Arizona, showing his ability to stare down defenses and make throws under pressure. He went 10-for-15 for 128 yards, including a beautiful touchdown that may have been his best throw of the entire preseason.
Midway through the fourth quarter, after a Tennessee touchdown made the score 12-7, Trubisky and the Bears took over on the Chicago 25-yard line. Following a short throw and nice run-after-catch by Titus Davis and some strong running by Josh Rounds, the Bears moved the ball into Titans territory. On second-and-14, Chicago lined up in an I-formation, with a fullback and Rounds behind Trubisky, who was under center. Wide receiver Tanner Gentry went in motion to the quarterback's left, joining Davis on that side of the formation. When the ball was snapped, Davis ran across the middle of the field, taking a cornerback and a safety with him. That allowed Gentry to be isolated, matched up with only a lone Titans defender along the sideline. When the undrafted rookie receiver gained a step, Trubisky launched a perfect throw to the 2-yard line. Gentry caught the pass in stride and fell in the endzone, a perfect read and throw by the quarterback, combined with a terrific route by the receiver on a rookie-to-rookie connection. The strong play by both Glennon and Trubisky in the victory gives the Bears plenty of optimism heading into the final week of preseason action before preparations for the Falcons begin. The two quarterbacks are able to push and teach one another, and despite being in competition for the same job, they are still fans and supporters of their teammate. Trubisky said Glennon, "balled out" against the Titans, and that the two are working to make each other better.
"(Glennon has) helped me and I continue to help him in any way I can," the rookie said. "He's been tremendous and I think that bond in our quarterback room hopefully just trickles to the rest of the position groups and we just have a tight knit team and just continue to get better each and every day."
Coach John Fox was asked following the game if he was ready to announce a starting quarterback moving forward, and he said the team would keep evaluating the position. When the coaches go back and watch film from Sunday afternoon, they'll see that in Glennon and Trubisky, they have two strong options for that role to take on Atlanta in two weeks.