The two have been running neck and neck the entire preseason for a spot on the opening-day roster.
Thursday's exhibition finale against the Browns provided a chance for Booker and Allen to establish separation in the competition for the third running back spot with final cuts due by 8 p.m. Friday. Their performances no doubt left the coaches with a tough decision.
Allen finished with 83 rushing yards on 16 carries, including a 49-yard dash in the final moments that might have resulted in a touchdown if he had not been exhausted. He also caught a team-high five passes for 51 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown reception from starter Josh McCown and another for 18 yards. Allen completed his night by forcing a fumble on a punt return.
"I had a pretty decent performance," Allen said after the 28-20 victory. "(But) definitely a lot of things I could have done better."
Booker's night started with an explosion but ended in disappointment. He gained 81 yards on 15 carries with a long run of 17 yards. He also caught four passes for 16 yards.
But Booker suffered a head injury late in the game and didn't return. Booker was unavailable to the media for interviews because of the injury.
Booker and Allen helped the offense move the ball, but it was hard not to ignore the outstanding "wiggle'' Booker displayed. He made starter-like moves to elude tackles, although he was playing against second- and third-stringers.
If the coaches use special teams as a measuring stick before cuts, the vision of Booker's 105-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against the Redskins is sure to enter their minds. But Allen showed he was capable of making a big play on special teams, too, when he popped the ball loose from Browns return man Travis Benjamin in the fourth quarter. Bears punter Ryan Quigley recovered the loose ball.
Booker, 28, was highly regarded coming out of Florida State and ended up being a third-round draft pick of the Dolphins. He spent one season with them before being traded to the Eagles. They cut him and Booker spent time in the UFL before joining the Vikings for two seasons. He signed with the Bears this offseason.
Allen, who starred at Notre Dame, entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the Buccaneers last season. He was signed to the Bears practice squad in September 2011 and appeared in two games.