NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Chicago coach John Fox thinks having a whole week to prepare for an opponent helped Mike Glennon turn in a strong performance for the Bears.
How much Glennon helped himself to the Bears’ starting quarterback job remains to be seen.
Glennon capped an opening 96-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Dion Sims as the Bears beat the Tennessee Titans 19-7 Sunday in the third preseason game.
“We’re very happy with the way Mike responded as far as a real game plan and what he did, I thought he played very well,” said Fox, who also noted coaches will keep evaluating.
Glennon was an efficient 11 of 18 for 134 yards passing despite losing starting wide receiver Cameron Meredith late in the first quarter. Meredith was carted off with a suspected left ACL injury, which Fox said must be checked by an MRI exam first.
Having a week to prepare and study for an opponent fits Glennon’s strengths.
“That’s kind of what I pride myself on, being well-prepared and working hard through the week,” Glennon said.
Mitchell Trubisky, the second overall pick out of North Carolina, opened the third quarter with the Bears’ starters. But Trubisky threw two incompletions as the Bears (2-1) went three-and-out. Trubisky also fumbled a snap on his next series, though he rebounded with a 45-yard TD pass to Tanner Gentry for a 19-7 lead in the fourth quarter.
The Titans (1-2) had issues on offense, defense and special teams. The Bears could have led 14-0 if Adam Shaheen controlled the ball before going out of bounds after Roy Robertson-Harris blocked a punt into the end zone early in the second quarter. Instead, Chicago led 9-0 after referee Ed Hochuli finally changed his ruling of a touchback to a safety.
Tennessee’s offensive struggles prompted coach Mike Mularkey to keep his first-team in until Mariota tossed the ball to Derrick Henry on the first play of the fourth for a 3-yard TD that kept Tennessee from being shut out. Mularkey said he wanted the first team to finish the drive in a game that featured too many mistakes.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Mularkey said. “We’ve got two weeks to do it.”
Chicago left 11 Bears at home, and the injury list only grew longer early in Sunday’s game. The worst injury came late in the first quarter when Meredith, who led Chicago with 66 catches for 888 yards, hurt his left knee when tackled low at the end of a 16-yard catch . Trainers braced his leg and carted him off the field. The Bears already had left three receivers at home.
Cornerback Prince Amukamara played one series before leaving the game with an injured ankle, and the Bears also declared long snapper Patrick Scales out early in the second quarter with an injured knee. Both were on crutches after the game. Bears linebacker Leonard Floyd hurt a foot.
The Titans started Adoree Jackson at right cornerback, the first start this preseason for the 18th overall pick out of Southern California. Glennon threw at Jackson on the Bears’ first play, a 9-yard completion to Zach Miller. Jackson also tackled Cameron Meredith at the end of a 28-yard catch on the opening drive. Sliding inside on passing downs, Jackson tackled former Titans receiver Kendall Wright on consecutive third down plays.
Then Jackson was flagged for interference in the end zone, and Glennon capped the 96-yard drive on the next play. Jackson, who’s trying to win the punt returner job, was tackled at his own 3 off his first attempt.
The Titans gave up two sacks of Mariota along with a handful of penalties, including a face mask and a hold on Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan in the first half. Linebacker Wesley Woodyard sacked Glennon in the second quarter. Mariota finished 12 of 21 for 193 yards passing but was just 7 of 13 for 106 in the first half.
The Bears and Titans each lost a starter early in the second quarter. Titans left guard Quinton Spain kept his right arm on Bears defensive end Jaye Howard Jr.’s left shoulder as the play ended with Howard throwing a right at Spain’s left shoulder. Spain threw a left at Howard’s helmet who responded with his own right at Spain’s head. Tyler Marz replaced Spain, and Mularkey said responding with a punch is “unacceptable.”
Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker