Backup Dawkins leads Titans past Bears in preseason finale
CHICAGO (AP) — It doesn’t matter if it’s a preseason game — Dalyn Dawkins has a number in mind.
Dawkins rushed for 117 yards and also caught two touchdown passes as the Tennessee Titans closed the preseason with a 19-15 victory over the Chicago Bears on Thursday night.
“It means a lot — every game I play I try get a 100 yards or more,” Dawkins said. “That is always my goal, my personal goal.”
With Derrick Henry sitting out for the Titans (2-2) alongside other starters, Dawkins took advantage of the playing time. With the Titans trailing 15-12, he sneaked out of the backfield and toward the sideline to catch a 3-yard TD pass from Logan Woodside on third-and-goal with 1:25 remaining.
It finished an eight-play, 68-yard drive.
“Every time we got back in the huddle, I kept reminding the guys we’ve got to have a sense of urgency and keep going,” Dawkins said. “And the defense got tired and we just kept going, kept pushing.”
Dawkins also caught a 9-yard TD pass from Woodside in the second quarter. Besides his 13 rushes, Dawkins also had four catches for 31 yards.
“That was one thing in the offseason that we looked at, an area in focus of his was catching the football,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said. “We always knew he was a good runner.”
Woodside played the entire game in place of starter Marcus Mariota and backup Ryan Tannehill and completed 17 of 29 for 212 yards.
“I just tried to go out there and make the most out of it and not try to make it any bigger than it needs to be,” Woodside said.
Ryan Succop made a 33-yard field goal in the third quarter to draw the Titans within 12-9 and added a fourth-quarter kick of 23 yards to cut the deficit to 15-12.
Eddy Pineiro went 3-for-3 on field goals for the Bears (1-3), but also missed an extra point in his bid to secure a roster spot.
“It was pretty windy, but a professional athlete,” Pineiro said after kicking into 20-mph wind. “You’ve got to put it through the upright.”
Pineiro converted field goals from 32, 39 and 35 yards
“We talk about it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” Bears coach Matt Nagy said. “I like the fact he came back and made those.”
Tyler Bray threw an 8-yard pass to Jesper Horsted for the Bears’ first points. Bray played the entire game and completed 28 of 40 passes for 334 yards.
Thomas Ives had five receptions for 99 yards, while Horsted caught five for 82 yards.
The Titans had only two sacks in their first three preseason games and only one by a defensive lineman, Isaiah Mack. But they came up with three sacks against Chicago, two by Derick Roberson.
Mack had enjoyed a solid camp and preseason, but was held out of the game.
“Everything is on a case-by-case basis,” Vrabel said. “Whether we decide to play a guy or not, whether I think he needs more work. He just didn’t play tonight.”
Pineiro wasn’t the only kicker missing an extra point into the wind.
Tennessee’s Succop had just come off the physically unable to perform list a week earlier and missed an extra point with 5:36 left in the second quarter. Succop had made two short field goals in his preseason debut the previous week against Pittsburgh.
Nagy wasn’t saying after the game whether he was leaning toward keeping Pineiro on the roster or looking at other kickers, but he said he would have patience if Pineiro ends up being the Week 1 kicker.
“There’s some interesting numbers for kickers who have struggled coming out of the gates that are now Hall of Famers and Pro Bowl kickers,” Nagy said. “If I don’t have patience at that position, I really think we’re chasing the cat’s tail and that’s not what I want to feel about it. That’s not what I’m all about.”
Pineiro finished the preseason 8 of 9 on field goals and 3 of 4 on point-after tries.
“I felt like I gave it all I’ve got,” Pineiro said. “It’s up to them now.”
Titans: Did not report any new injuries.
Bears: TE Dax Raymond suffered a concussion in the first half. He went down with an injury in the first quarter after a hit when he made a reception, but walked off to the sideline and later returned in the second quarter, then left the game and was being evaluated for a concussion. ... Offensive lineman Blake Blackmar left with an ankle injury in the second quarter and did not return.
Titans: Open the season at Cleveland on Sept. 8.
Bears: Kick off the NFL season next Thursday by hosting Green Bay.