Coach Mike Vrabel has been warning his Tennessee Titans they had reached a crossroads after losing back-to-back games.
Ryan Tannehill threw two touchdown passes, and the banged-up Tennessee Titans responded Sunday by never trailing in beating the Chicago Bears 24-17.
The Titans (6-2) avoided their longest skid since Tannehill took over as starting quarterback and stayed atop the AFC South going into Thursday night's division showdown against Indianapolis.
Still, Vrabel clearly wasn't very happy after his Titans failed to build on a 17-0 lead after three quarters.
“We just have to finish games better,” Vrabel said. “We're up, dominating the football game and make it too close.”
Amani Hooker recovered the Bears' onside kick attempt for Tennessee with about a minute left to seal the victory after Nick Foles made it interesting with a pair of late TD passes for Chicago.
Tennessee got a big boost from an undermanned and struggling defense missing three-time Pro Bowl linebacker Jadeveon Clowney with an injured knee days after linebacker Vic Beasley Jr. and starting cornerback Johnathan Joseph both were waived.
Cornerback Desmond King picked up a fumble and ran 63 yards for a TD only days after the Titans picked up the 2018 All-Pro from the Chargers for a sixth-round pick. King didn't join Tennessee until Saturday after clearing COVID-19 testing protocols and put the Titans up 17-0 late in the third quarter.
Once he picked up the ball, King said he knew he had to score. It was the third defensive TD of his career.
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“I knew I had a short week of getting this down and not letting it be a distraction and using it as motivation knowing I have to get this done to go out there and play and have my teammates trust me while I’m out there,” said King, who studied his new playbook and met with his new team virtually from his hotel room.
The Bears (5-4) came in trailing Green Bay in the NFC North dealing with their own injuries and COVID-19 issues. Chicago lost its third straight despite the defense coming up with three sacks and holding the NFL's fifth-best offense averaging 407 yards a game to a season-low 228.
“When you’re sitting 5-1, to be 5-4, it hurts,” Bears coach Matt Nagy said. “But now we’ve got to make sure, whatever those issues are, we just at some point in time get this thing back on track."