CHICAGO —** Bend but don't break. The Titans held on to beat the Chicago Bears 27-21 here on Sunday, and they had to hold on for dear life in the end on defense.
No one in the locker room was bragging about the team's defensive effort, not after surrendering three touchdowns, including two in the fourth quarter.
But the Titans did get a late stand to secure the win on a day when the defense kept the Bears from scoring three times after they reached the red zone.
"Just because they get down in the red zone doesn't mean they have to score,'' Titans linebacker Wesley Woodyard said. "We got three red zone stops, and that's the tale of the tape. If we let those guys be successful down there, we wouldn't have had a chance."
Woodyard made a pair of big plays with his back to the end zone. He intercepted Bears quarterback Matt Barkley at the 16-yard line in the second quarter when he took the ball away from tight end Ben Brauneker. Late in the game, on Chicago's final drive, Woodyard had a key breakup on third down.
The Bears drove 58 yards on eight plays after getting the ball at their 35-yard line with 1:56 left. But Barkley threw four straight incompletions to end the game, the final throw – to receiver Deonte Thompson -- defended by cornerback Perrish Cox as rookie safety Kevin Byard applied the pressure.
"It was one of those things where multiple guys were out there saying, 'Don't let them in,'" Woodyard said. "It doesn't matter how they got here, just don't let them in. I could hear people saying, 'Believe. Believe.' And you know when you hear stuff like that and you hear guys leaving it all on the field, you are going to have a good shot at winning."
Barkley threw for 316 yards and three touchdowns against the Titans while filling in for injured starter Jay Cutler.
The Titans didn't sack Barkley, but they managed to make some big plays.
In addition to Woodyard's interception, safety Da'Norris Searcy also had an interception in the end zone.
Many of the Titans defenders kicked themselves for allowing the Bears to have a chance in the end. The Titans played down the stretch without Jason McCourty, who suffered a bruised knee.
Rookie cornerback LeShaun Sims got his most extensive action in the defense, and said "there were some plays I wish I could have made.
"I have to watch the film and get better," Sims said.
Byard said the Titans find themselves in a good position with a 6-6 record at the bye week, behind Houston (6-5). The team credited the Bears for making plays, and fighting to the end.
But everyone agreed they'd like to see more of a killer instinct down the stretch. The Titans led the Bears 27-7 in the fourth quarter but had to hold on late.
"We will take it," veteran safety Rashad Johnson said of the win. "Of course when you have a lead like that, you want to find a way to hold on and not make the game as much of a rollercoaster as it was, but give the Bears credit because they fought and made some plays.
"But we were able to pull it out and now I love where we are. The feeling in the locker room is excitement. There's some relief we held on to get the win, and now we have to finish strong."
The Tennessee Titans take on the Chicago Bears in Week 12 action at Soldier Field. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)