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Bears pick off Romo five times in rout of Cowboys

The SportsXchange

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo completed 31 of 43 passes for 307 yards Monday against the Chicago Bears, stats that in many games would lead his team to a win.

However, victories are nearly impossible to come by when the quarterback throws five interceptions, which Romo did.

Romo's career-worst pick total doomed Dallas to a 34-18 loss to the Bears at Cowboys Stadium.

Chicago (3-1) returned two interceptions for touchdowns in winning its second consecutive game to remain tied with Minnesota atop the NFC North.

Dallas (2-2) has scored just four touchdowns in the past three weeks.

"We have to keep figuring out a way to execute better," Romo said. "There are simple things sometime. The No. 1 factor is taking care of the football. I know that. We preach it to the guys every day. It was obviously frustrating when I was the one who turned it over tonight."

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler finished 18-for-24 for 275 yards and two touchdowns. Brandon Marshall had seven receptions for 138 yards and a touchdown.

Cutler came out firing to start the second half, moving the visitors 75 yards in just five plays to put Chicago on top 17-7. Four of those plays were completions, including a 34-yard touchdown to Devin Hester.

Under pressure on the scoring play, Cutler bought enough time to loft it down the middle of the field. Hester made a diving catch falling over the goal line. The play was reviewed, as it appeared the ball might have hit the ground, but the TD call was confirmed.

"We started off a little bit slow," Cutler said. "The defense put us in some great spots."

Promising Dallas scoring chances on two possessions in the third quarter with the game still in reach ended with Romo interceptions, including one that Bears linebacker Lance Briggs returned 74 yards for a touchdown. Instead of getting within a score, Dallas was down 24-7 with 6:11 left in the third.

"Just outstanding play by our defense," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "Seems like everybody had a say. Those were all good plays."

Cowboys backup quarterback Kyle Orton completed nine of 10 passes, including a 5-yard TD pass to Jason Witten in the game's final minute.

Chicago took a 10-7 lead into halftime, with all of its points coming during a 95-second stretch late in the second quarter. The Bears' first touchdown came when cornerback Charles Tillman took back an interception 25 yards.

The game opened with five consecutive punts, as neither team could generate much offense. Dallas appeared to have something going on its first drive with three first downs before stalling in Chicago territory. The Bears managed only 44 yards on their first two possessions.

Chicago's third drive showed improvement. Starting at their own 6-yard line after a Dallas punt, the Bears drove 69 yards in 13 plays over seven minutes. Matt Forte picked up 33 yards on the ground, and kicker Robbie Gould ended the march with a 43-yard field for a 3-0 Chicago lead.

Romo and receiver Dez Bryant weren't on the same page on the ensuing drive, and they paid the price with a touchdown. On third-and-9 from the Dallas 21, Romo threw a short out in Bryant's direction. Bryant, however, never turned back for the ball and went up the sideline.

"There is a story to it," Romo said. "We'll go back and watch the tape and figure out what happened."

Tillman, the only player in the vicinity of the pass, bobbled the ball at first before securing the pick and waltzing into the end zone.

Romo came back strong once Dallas got the ball back. With the quarterback slinging the ball around to Bryant and Miles Austin, the Cowboys made it a three-point game going into halftime. Romo connected with Austin on a 10-yard scoring slant with 14 seconds left in the half.

Chicago is at Jacksonville on Sunday, while Romo and the Cowboys head into a bye week looking to regroup. Romo has eight turnovers in the past two weeks.

"We have to get over it," he said. "It's going to suck for a few days now. Obviously, it's going to sit there in your stomach and eat at you. I was trying in different situations out there to do too much and get the ball in different areas, and that's going to catch up to you sometime in the National Football League.

"I'm going to have to reassess a couple of things that are happening and make sure they don't happen again."

NOTES: Forte returned from an ankle injury. ... Chicago's inactives were fullback Evan Rodriguez, guard/center Edwin Williams, guard/tackle Chris Williams, defensive tackle Matt Toeaina, wide receiver Earl Bennett, defensive tackle Nate Collins and defensive end Cheta Ozougwu. ... Dallas linebacker Bruce Carter (hip) left in the first quarter. ... The Cowboys' inactives were punter Chris Jones, safety Matt Johnson, linebacker Alex Albright, center Phil Costa, nose tackle Jay Ratliff, outside linebacker Anthony Spencer and defensive end Kenyon Coleman. ... Cowboys strong safety Barry Church went on injured reserve last week after surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon. ... A game was played with the roof open for only the fifth time in the four-year history of Cowboys Stadium.

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