Resting most of their starters, the Bears closed the preseason with a 27-24 win over the Tennessee Titans Saturday night in Nashville.
The Bears' star of the game was tight end Jesper Horsted, who caught three touchdown passes, including a spectacular one-handed grab that he turned into the winning 54-yard score.
The Bears' No. 1 offensive line—left tackle Jason Peters, left guard Cody Whitehair, center Sam Mustipher, right guard James Daniels and right tackle Germain Ifedi—played the entire first half. On defense, nose tackle Eddie Goldman and inside linebacker Danny Trevathan opened the game.
Aside from those seven players, no other Bears starters played Saturday night.
In finishing the preseason 2-1, there was a lot to like for the Bears on both sides of the ball in the first half.
The defense recorded two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown, while the offense closed the half with an impressive two-minute drill that was capped by a highlight-reel TD.
The Titans took a 7-0 lead on Mehki Sargent's 1-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-goal early in the second quarter.
But the Bears answered as outside linebacker Trevis Gipson burst off the right edge and hit quarterback Logan Woodside's arm as he threw downfield. The pass fluttered to cornerback Tre Roberson, who intercepted the ball and returned it 27 yards for a TD, tying the score 7-7.
Earlier in the first half, Trevathan intercepted an ill-advised Matt Barkley pass over the middle.
Beating a Bears blitz, fullback Khari Blasingame caught a screen pass and raced 50 yards to the Chicago 6. Rookie cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. dragged down Blasingame from behind, saving a touchdown.
Sam Ficken's 21-yard field goal gave the Titans a 10-7 lead with 1:47 left in the half. Tennessee settled for the kick after linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe broke up Barkley's third down pass intended for tight end Luke Stocker in the end zone.
The Bears then took over at their own 22 with 1:43 remaining in the half. QB Justin Fields completed 3 of 4 passes for 32 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown to Horsted with :52 to play in the half. The rookie first-round pick escaped pressure in the pocket, rolled to his right and connected with Horsted in traffic in the end zone to give the Bears a 14-10 lead.
"He was in a scramble mode," said coach Matt Nagy. "He got up and outside of the pocket. He made a great throw and Jesper made a heck of a catch.
"The one thing about Justin that I think he does a great job with is he keeps his eyes downfield. It would be so easy when you run 4.4—I know if I was 4.4, I'd be running all the time—but he's staying up, he's throwing that ball, and he did a great job and then Jesper made a great catch."
Playing the first half, Fields completed 7 of 10 passes for 54 yards with one TD and a 116.2 passer rating. He also rushed for 13 yards on two carries.
Replacing Fields, Nick Foles opened the second half by engineering a 10-play, 69-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown strike to Horsted on a quick slant, giving the Bears a 21-10 lead with 9:01 left in the third quarter. Foles completed 7 of 7 passes for 67 yards on the possession.
The Titans closed to within 21-17 on running back Javian Hawkins' 1-yard TD run on third-and-goal with 3:04 left in the third quarter. The TD capped a 10-play, 80-yard drive.
Tennessee then took a 24-21 lead on Woodside's 6-yard TD pass to receiver Cameron Batson, who beat Graham with 11:43 left in the fourth quarter.
The Bears responded by taking a 27-24 lead on Horsted's third TD catch of the game. The second-year tight end snared a Foles pass with one hand and turned it into a 54-yard go-ahead score with 6:51 to play.
"It wasn't really a conscious decision," Horsted said of reaching up to catch the ball with one hand. "It just felt like that was my best chance because it was a little out in front of me. I'm not saying it wasn't a good ball by Nick. I just threw the hand out, and I felt very confident making that play and getting upfield."
Playing the second half, Foles completed 10 of 13 passes for 142 yards with two TDs and a 151.3 passer rating.
See the game unfold through the lenses of our sideline photographers as the Bears face off against the Titans in the preseason finale in Nashville.