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 exhibition 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.
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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 overall pick in the draft went 11 for 17.
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.
Chicago cornerback Kyle Fuller, a first-round pick from Virginia Tech, left the game because of an ankle injury.
CLEVELAND — Brian Hoyer has held off rookie Johnny Manziel for at least another week.
Browns coach Mike Pettine has chosen Hoyer to start at quarterback ahead of Manziel in Cleveland’s second exhibition game on Monday night at Washington against Robert Griffin III.
Pettine’s decision is somewhat surprising since he has stated the quarterback competition is “open” and Hoyer started the exhibition opener last week at Detroit. Pettine has said the two quarterbacks will share the snaps with Cleveland’s first-team offense against Washington.
“It’s just something right now where we are comfortable with Brian going out there to start the game,” Pettine said. “I think it’s a little overblown as to who the starter is going to be. The key component, as I’ve stated earlier this week, is that we are going to balance the reps.
“We will play it a little by ear as it goes on. We haven’t truly decided as far as the rotation but the goal is, for when we look at the stat sheet at halftime, that they both have the same amount of repetitions and hopefully they both get a good amount of work.”
Hoyer and Manziel have been competing for the starting job since training camp opened last month, and their back-and-forth battle appears to be headed into its final days.
Neither QB has taken control of the job, leading to endless speculation about who is leading and who needs to make up ground.
Manziel suffered his first slip this week when he was a few minutes late for a team meeting, team sources told ESPN. Manziel’s tardiness was not said to be a factor in Pettine’s decision.
• Coach Jeff Fisher said St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford will play at least a quarter in the second exhibition game. Also, prosecutors in Miami have dropped battery and disorderly conduct charges against Rams linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar for a fight outside a South Beach nightclub.
• After an absence of nearly three weeks for undisclosed personal reasons, linebacker John Abraham arrived at Arizona Cardinals training camp. Also, the Cardinals signed inside linebacker Desmond Bishop to a one-year contract.
• Washington formally appealed a ruling that stripped the team of trademark protection, the latest legal maneuver in the franchise’s attempt to defend its name against those who consider it a racial slur.