NASHVILLE, Tenn. — No one will remember the Bears had engineered a 29-minute,
1-second, snoozefest Saturday before rookie quarterback Justin Fields made a throw that caused his teammates to shake their heads in amazement.
Or that, at that very moment late in the first half, the Bears had thrown for 34 yards and run for 32. The Titans had gifted them almost as many yards — 64 in total and 35 alone on that drive.
All anyone watching the game will remember is the throw.
‘‘That was an example of the power of Justin Fields,’’ said tight end Jesper Horsted, the recipient of Fields’ 20-yard touchdown pass in the Bears’ 27-24 victory in their preseason finale. ‘‘He’s great at extending the play.’’
Fields made one special play against mostly Titans second- and third-stringers. But it was memorable — and a taste of things to come.
Fields will begin the regular season as the backup for the same reasons he struggled early in the game. But when he takes starter Andy Dalton’s place — and it will be sooner than the Bears first thought — it will be because of plays such as the throw he made with 59 seconds left in the first half.
Fields had three receivers to his left, a running back to his right and Horsted split tight to the right when he backpedaled, planted his right foot at the Titans’ 29 and burst forward to avoid the pass rush.
Seeing man coverage, Fields took two steps forward along the right hash mark and broke right at the 27. Defensive tackle Teair Tart, at 304 pounds, lumbered after him but lost ground with each step.
Fields could have kept the ball and sprinted up the sideline — the nearest potential tackler was 12 yards ahead of him — but he pulled up and threw the ball into the end zone. There were three Titans defenders and two Bears pass-catchers — Horsted and receiver Dazz Newsome — waiting.
‘‘Me being a mobile quarterback, I have to be able to make throws like that when I’m a threat to the defense to run or pass,’’ Fields said. ‘‘I feel like I do it well. I’ve been doing it for a long time.’’
Third-string safety Clayton Geathers rode Horsted’s left shoulder for the first seven yards off the line of scrimmage before Horsted shoved him away and broke to the right sideline, then turned the route toward the end zone. He was two yards past the pylon when the ball came his way.
Geathers had his back turned to Fields, who fired the ball toward his right shoulder. Horsted extended his arms to his left, caught the ball and hung on after being hit by two defenders. It was a perfect throw on a dead run.
‘‘No one else could have caught that ball, except for maybe my other teammate,’’ Horsted said. ‘‘No defender could have gotten it.’’
By halftime, Bears Twitter had exploded. And with good reason.
‘‘We are just as excited,’’ coach Matt Nagy said. ‘‘This is the plan. This is the process. We understand that. . . . He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do.’’
Earlier this month, quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo detailed what made Fields special on the run.
‘‘In the quarterback room, we always say, ‘If there’s a throw to be made, we make it,’ ’’ he said. ‘‘ ‘And if there’s not, we use our God-given ability to escape the pocket, keeping our head and eyes downfield.’ ’’
That’s precisely what Fields did.
He didn’t take another snap after the touchdown pass, finishing his preseason 30-for-49 for 276 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 90.18 passer rating. He ran for a touchdown, too, and carried 11 times for 92 yards.
There’s no telling when he’ll play again. But the next time he takes the field, he won’t be coming out.