CHICAGO – Chad Henne did all he could to keep the starting quarterback job with the Jacksonville Jaguars. First-round pick Blake Bortles was just as good – or better.
Henne passed for 130 yards and a touchdown, and Bortles threw for 160 in relief before backup quarterback Jordan Palmer rallied the Chicago Bears to a 20-19 preseason victory over the Jaguars on Thursday night.
Palmer, trying to beat out Jimmy Clausen for the No. 2 job, led Chicago to two fourth-quarter touchdowns. Senorise Perry scored on a 5-yard run with 50 seconds left, and C.J. Wilson intercepted a pass to seal the win after Henne and Bortles picked the Bears apart.
Jared Allen made his first appearance for Chicago. The star offseason defensive acquisition finished with one tackle for a loss on an otherwise quiet night. He sat out last week’s opening win over Philadelphia after he missed practices because his wife had a baby.
Henne showed mobility in the pocket and completed 12 of 17 passes before leaving with a 13-7 lead in the second quarter.
Bortles looked sharp again after an impressive showing last week in a victory over Tampa Bay. The No. 3 pick in the draft, he went 11 for 17, but the Buccaneers came away with the loss.
Chicago’s Jay Cutler completed 7 of 9 passes for 79 yards and called it a night after throwing a 4-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall early in the second quarter.
Jimmy Clausen got the first call after Cutler left the game, with Palmer serving as the second man in relief in a flip from the preseason opener. But Clausen took a step back after a strong performance last week.
The former Notre Dame star and Carolina Panther went 11 of 15 for 94 yards. He also had a pass intercepted by Josh Evans early in the third quarter off linebacker Telvin Smith’s deflection.
Palmer started the fourth quarter and threw for 73 yards, completing 6 of 9 passes.
Martellus Bennett had a 25-yard catch after being suspended by the team last week for an altercation in practice with cornerback Kyle Fuller, who left this game after injuring his ankle on the opening possession.
Jacksonville’s Toby Gerhart ran for 19 yards in his first appearance with the Jaguars. The former Minnesota Vikings backup had missed nearly two weeks because of a hip flexor injury.
Marqise Lee, a standout in camp, caught four passes for 27 yards and a touchdown after struggling against Tampa Bay. Mercedes Lewis had 46 yards on three receptions.
The Jaguars scored on all three first-quarter possessions while grabbing a 13-0 lead, with Josh Scobee kicking a pair of field goals and Henne hitting Lee with a 6-yard touchdown pass after another special-teams gaffe by Chicago.
After giving up a 102-yard kickoff return to Philadelphia’s Josh Huff, this time it was a fumble by Eric Weems on the kickoff after Scobee’s second field goal – a 25-yarder. Will Blackmon stripped him, Jacksonville took over on the Chicago 23, and Henne connected with Lee after a third-down sack by Trevor Scott earlier in the drive got wiped out by an illegal contact call against Kelvin Hayden.
The Bears cut it to 13-7 early in the second quarter, when Cutler hit Marshall with a 4-yarder to cap a 10-play drive. But a 43-yard field goal by Scobee late in the half made it 16-7.