By Andrew Seligman, AP Sports Writer
CHICAGO (AP) — Johnny Knox came up with an over-the-shoulder touchdown catch, and if he keeps it up he might regain his spot as the Chicago Bears' starting receiver.
Knox made his scoring catch early on, backup quarterback Caleb Hanie looked sharp and the Bears closed out the preseason with a 24-14 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night.
Chicago's Jay Cutler watched from the sideline along with the rest of the skill-position starters, and the first-team offensive line joined them there after one series.
Brian Urlacher and Julius Peppers never made it back onto the field after the pregame introductions, and the few defensive first-teamers that did play joined them there after one possession. The Browns went mostly with reserves, too, holding out quarterback Colt McCoy and pulling top pick Phil Taylor after the first quarter.
With both teams taking the cautious approach, this was a night for backups to shine and Hanie and Knox took advantage.
They connected on a 19-yard touchdown on Chicago's second possession, with Hanie lofting the ball over two defenders and Knox making the catch in the left corner of the end zone, drawing an ear-to-ear grin from coach Lovie Smith while boosting the lead to 10-0.
Hanie started the game by leading the reigning NFC North champions on a 76-yard drive that ended in a 22-yard field goal for Robbie Gould, and he wound up completing 7 of 10 passes for 83 yards on two possessions before Nathan Enderle took over.
Knox made the most of his brief appearance, with two catches for 33 yards - not bad for a guy who got dropped from the No. 1 spot. That happened after the Bears signed Roy Williams, hoping he could show some of the form that made him a Pro Bowl receiver in Detroit under Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz. Instead, he's struggled in the preseason after failing to deliver in Dallas the past 2 1/2 years.
Former Ohio State star Dane Sanzenbacher did little to hurt his case for a roster spot with four catches for 50 yards. An undrafted rookie, he did muff a punt but recovered it.
For Chester Taylor, it wasn't a great night.
Widely believed to be on the way out, he carried 10 times for 27 yards in what might be his last appearance for the Bears. He didn't play the previous week at Tennessee and left Bears headquarters on Monday after a meeting with Smith thinking he had been cut.
He might have gotten a reprieve with Kahlil Bell leaving the game with an ankle injury in the first half, but he still could be gone by the deadline Saturday to get the roster down to 53.
For Cleveland, Seneca Wallace started at quarterback for Colt McCoy and struggled, going 4 of 9 with 52 yards.
Jarrett Brown looked good, though, completing 10 of 15 passes for 92 yards. He hit Rod Windsor on a 38-yard TD early in the fourth quarter that pulled Cleveland within 17-14 but also threw an interception.
Armond Smith, trying to make the roster, had a 6-yard TD run late in the first half and finished with 47 yards on 11 carries.
Quinn Porter, who's also hoping to survive the cut, had 17 yards on five attempts.
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