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.
Briggs’ interception came in a wild two-play exchange of turnovers midway through the third quarter.
“Just outstanding play by our defense,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said. “It seemed like everybody had a say in it. How about Lance Briggs? You guys didn’t know he could run that fast.”
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 61/2 minutes remaining.
Cutler was 18 of 24 overall for 275 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.
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 65 points.
“This has to be a wakeup call for us. I don’t say that nonchalantly. It has to be,” Cowboys tight end Jason Witten said.
Romo finished 31 of 43 for 307 yards and a touchdown. When the Cowboys got the ball back in the final 3 minutes, former Chicago quarterback Kyle Orton got his first action since the veteran signed a free agent deal during the offseason to be Romo’s backup.
Orton threw a 5-yard TD pass to Jason Witten with 34 seconds to go, capping a 10-play, 89-yard drive.