NFL: Bears pick on Romo, Cowboys
Arlington, Texas • Those 30-something defenders for the Chicago Bears showed Tony Romo how much they can still play.
Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman, two of the five defensive starters for Chicago in their 30s, returned interceptions for touchdowns, and the Bears beat the Dallas Cowboys 34-18 on Monday night.
Though Romo was sacked only once, on the Cowboys' opening series, he was pressured relentlessly and threw five interceptions. That matched his career high, set five years ago in his first full season as a starter.
"Just outstanding play by our defense," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "Seems like everybody had a say. Those were all good plays."
Briggs' 74-yard interception return came in a wild two-play exchange of turnovers midway through the third quarter.
"I got the ball, I just tried to score," said Briggs, who had not returned a pick for a touchdown since 2005. "I needed to get in the end zone."
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was nearly flawless after halftime, when he completed 11 of 12 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns. That included a 34-yard score to Devin Hester to start the half and a 31-yarder to Brandon Marshall with 6Â½ minutes left.
Cutler was 18 of 24 overall for 275 yards. Marshall had seven catches for 138 yards.
Major Wright, who returned an interception for a touchdown in Chicago's last game, had two of the five interceptions. D.J. Moore has nine career interceptions, three of them against Romo after getting another one Monday night.
Chicago's first fumble of the season came when Cutler was sacked by DeMarcus Ware and Victor Butler recovered at the Bears 27.
On the very next play, Romo was trying to escape pressure when he was hit from behind by Henry Melton. The ball popped forward into the air and Briggs grabbed it and rumbled for his first interception return for a score since 2005 to put the Bears (3-1) ahead 24-7.
Once again, the Cowboys (2-2) are a .500 team. They are also one of the lowest-scoring teams in the NFL with only 65 points. Since the start of the 1997 season, Dallas is 122-122 in regular-season games. They have won only one playoff game in that span after three Super Bowl titles in a four-year span in the first half of the 1990s.
Romo finished 31 of 43 for 307 yards and a touchdown. When the Cowboys got the ball back in the final 3 minutes, Kyle Orton got his first action since the veteran quarterback signed a free agent deal during the offseason to be Romo's backup. Bears 34,Cowboys 18
Chicago 0 10 14 10 34
Dallas 0 7 3 8 18
Chi • FG Gould 43, 4:15.
Chi • Tillman 25 interception return (Gould kick), 2:38.
Dal • Austin 10 pass from Romo (Bailey kick), :14.
Chi • Hester 34 pass from Cutler (Gould kick), 11:54.
Chi • Briggs 74 interception return (Gould kick), 6:11.
Dal • FG Bailey 39, 2:11.
Chi • FG Gould 21, 11:24.
Chi • Marshall 31 pass from Cutler (Gould kick), 6:28.
Dal • Witten 5 pass from Orton (Bryant pass from Orton), :34.
Attendance • 90,080.
First downs 18 26
Total Net Yards 360 430
Rushes-yards 28-93 14-41
Passing 267 389
Punt Returns 1-8 0-0
Kickoff Returns 3-50 2-48
Interceptions Ret. 5-99 0-0
Comp-Att-Int 18-24-0 40-53-5
Sacked-Yards Lost 2-8 1-7
Punts 3-40.0 3-37.0
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 2-0
Penalties-yards 4-25 2-10
Time of Possession 30:50 29:10
Rushing • Chicago, Forte 13-52, Bush 10-29, Bell 2-12, Cutler 3-0. Dallas, Murray 11-24, F.Jones 1-13, Ogletree 1-4, Romo 1-0.
Passing • Chicago, Cutler 18-24-0-275. Dallas, Romo 31-43-5-307, Orton 9-10-0-89.
Receiving • Chicago, Marshall 7-138, Davis 3-62, Hester 3-38, Jeffery 3-32, Bush 1-8, Forte 1-(minus 3). Dallas, Witten 13-112, Bryant 8-105, Murray 7-57, Austin 4-57, Ogletree 3-24, Tanner 2-20, Beasley 2-14, Holmes 1-7.
Missed Field Goals • None.