Thursday’s NFL roundup: Jags’ Chad Henne, Blake Bortles sharp in loss to Bears
Chicago — Chad Henne (Michigan) did all he could to keep the starting quarterback job with the Jacksonville Jaguars. First-round pick Blake Bortles was about as good.
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 after signing in the offseason and finished with one tackle for a loss on an otherwise quiet night. The five-time Pro Bowl defensive end 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.
“We feel very strongly about Chad,” coach Gus Bradley said.
But he also plans to give Bortles some snaps with the first team, possibly in the coming week.
The rookie looked sharp again after an impressive showing last week in a victory over Tampa Bay. The No. 3 pick in the draft, Bortles went 11 for 17, but the Jaguars 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.
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 struggled through some headset problems 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 after the headset went out on him.
“There were three to five plays where it just became confusion and he really didn’t get us into the best plays,” coach Marc Trestman said. “He was trying to make something good out of a bad situation, and there wasn’t any way I could help him. That group of I would say up to a half a dozen plays when Jimmy was in there, it was very difficult to evaluate.”
Palmer started the fourth quarter and threw for 73 yards, completing 6 of 9 passes.
“This is a competition and coaches have done a phenomenal job of making it very fair, evaluating us every day and so when you get to the preseason, you wait until your turn and then you go in there and try to make the most of it,” Palmer said.
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 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. The TD came after Chicago’s Eric Weems fumbled away a kickoff.
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.
“Definitely the first couple of drives we wanted to get the tempo going,” Henne said. “The way we did that was first and second down. We moved the chains and got some explosive plays out of it as well.”
Bears’ Kyle Fuller injured
Chicago cornerback Kyle Fuller left the Bears’ preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night because of an ankle injury.
A first-round pick from Virginia Tech, he was injured on the opening possession. Drafted 14th overall, Fuller has been playing with the first team in nickel situations.
He started 42 of 50 games at Virginia Tech and had 129 solo tackles along with six interceptions, 21 pass break ups and four forced fumbles in his career. He had 24 tackles, broke up 10 passes and picked off two in nine games last season.
After an absence of nearly three weeks for undisclosed personal reasons, John Abraham arrived at Cardinals training camp, saying he is “still the same guy.” The 36-year-old inside linebacker, speaking after practice, would not say specifically why he was gone, only that it was “just personal stuff.”
... The Cardinals signed inside linebacker Desmond Bishop to a one-year contract.
... The Patriots released Ben Hartsock four days after signing the tight end. The 10-year veteran spent the past three seasons with the Panthers. He previously played for the Colts, Titans, Falcons and Jets. He has 31 catches for 312 yards and one touchdown in 131 games.
The Washington Redskins formally appealed a ruling that stripped the team of trademark protection, the latest legal maneuver in the team’s attempt to defend its name against those who consider it a racial slur.