ARLINGTON, Texas -- There were plenty of potential excuses for Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys.

Tipped passes, miscommunication with receivers and a defense that couldn't stop Jay Cutler in the second half.

But Romo was willing to take the blame after matching a career high with five interceptions, two of them returned for touchdowns by two of Chicago's 30-something defenders as the Bears won 34-18 on Monday night.

"I can't try and do too much, and I think I tried to do too much tonight," Romo said. "Going forward I just have to do my job. And I will. ... I have to do my job. The competitive side takes over sometimes and tries to make a play."

Charles Tillman took Romo's first pick 25 yards for a touchdown, and Lance Briggs broke the game open when he returned an interception 74 yards for a score midway through the third quarter during a wild two-play exchange of turnovers.

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.

"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."

Though Romo was only sacked once, on the game's first series, he was pressured relentlessly and threw the five interceptions. That matched his career high, first done five years ago in his first full season as a starter.

Romo finished 31 of 43 for 307 yards with a touchdown.

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 going into their bye week, and then they play four of their next five games on the road.

"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. "You can't bounce back and forth like this and try to compete come December-time. You can't do it. We have been in that situation before. You cannot do it. And we know that, and we'll get better."

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.

"It's very disappointing, here at home in front of our fans. We thought a lot was at stake here," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. "We've got a long ways to go and got guys here who know how to do it. ... We all know when you don't take care of the ball, we all know what happens."

The interception by Tillman in the second quarter came on a ball thrown right into his hands by Romo when intended receiver Dez Bryant was still running down the field.

"Tony saw it one way," Dallas coach Jason Garrett said. "Dez saw it another way."

Trailing 17-7 early in the third after Cutler's 34-yard touchdown pass to Devin Hester, the Cowboys took the ball from their own 20 down to the Bears 18. Romo's slant pass bounced off Kevin Ogletree's chest and into the hands of Chicago cornerback D.J. Moore, then came the turnovers on consecutive plays.

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.

Orton threw a 5-yard TD pass to Witten with 34 seconds left, capping a 10-play, 89-yard drive.

Witten, the seven-time Pro Bowl tight end who uncharacteristically had several drops the first three games after missing most of the preseason with a lacerated spleen, had 13 catches for 112 yards.

Cutler picked apart the Dallas defense in the second half, completing 11 of 12 passes for 219 yards and two long touchdowns.

The Bears quarterback finished 18 of 24 overall for 275 yards. Brandon Marshall had seven catches for 138 yards, including a 31-yard TD.

After Tillman's interception put the Bears up 10-0, the Cowboys responded by going 80 yards on nine plays, capped by Romo's 10-yard TD pass to Miles Austin with 14 seconds left in the half.

NOTES: Bryant had eight catches for 105 yards. ... Pro Bowl RB Matt Forte returned to the Bears lineup after missing the last game with a sprained right ankle and being limited in practice all week. He had 13 carries for 52 yards. ... The regular referees wrapped up the first weekend of games since returning to work. Referee Walt Anderson had to go under the hood to review three plays.

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Loading Slideshow...
  • Lance Briggs, Tony Romo, Henry Melton

    Chicago Bears outside linebacker Lance Briggs (55) intercepts the football as Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) is sacked by Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton (69) during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. The Bears won 34-18. (AP Photo/The Waco Tribune-Herald, Jose Yau)

  • Tony Romo

    Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) passes the ball against the Chicago Bears during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • Tony Romo, Henry Melton

    Chicago Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton (69) moves in to sack Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • Jay Cutler

    Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) passes the ball against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • Tony Romo, Henry Melton

    Chicago Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton (69) sacks Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • Tony Romo

    Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) rolls after being sacked by Chicago Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton (69) during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • Henry Melton

    Chicago Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton (69) celebrates after sacking Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • Tony Romo, Henry Melton

    Chicago Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton (69) moves in to sack Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • Jay Cutler, DeMarcus Ware

    Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware (94) sacks Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

  • Jay Cutler, Jason Hatcher

    Dallas Cowboys defensive end Jason Hatcher (97) lands on Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) after Cutler was sacked by Cowboys' DeMarcus Ware during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

  • Charles Tillman, Lance Briggs, Felix Jones

    Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman returns an interception for a touchdown past Dallas Cowboys running back Felix Jones (28) as Bears' Lance Briggs (55) watches during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Sharon Ellman)

  • Charles Tillman

    Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman returns an interception for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • Jay Cutler, Matt Forte

    Chicago Bears' Jay Cutler (6) hands off to running back Matt Forte (22) in the first half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Sharon Ellman)

  • Charles Tillman

    Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman celebrates after returning an interception for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • Charles Tillman

    Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman celebrates after returning an interception for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • Chris Conte, Miles Austin, D.J. Moore, Lance Briggs

    Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin (19) dives through a tackle by Chicago Bears cornerback D.J. Moore (30) to score a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

  • Miles Austin

    Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin (19) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Chicago Bears during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

  • Tony Romo

    Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) celebrates his touchdown pass to wide receiver Miles Austin during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • Kevin Ogletree, Miles Austin, Jason Witten

    Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin (19) celebrates his touchdown against the Chicago Bears with Kevin Ogletree (85) and Jason Witten (82) during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Sharon Ellman)

  • Tony Romo

    Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) celebrates his touchdown pass to wide receiver Miles Austin during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • Major Wright

    Chicago Bears strong safety Major Wright (21) celebrates his interception against the Dallas Cowboys during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

  • Devin Hester

    Chicago Bears wide receiver Devin Hester (23) makes a touchdown reception against the Dallas Cowboys during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

  • Devin Hester

    Chicago Bears wide receiver Devin Hester (23) makes a touchdown reception against the Dallas Cowboys during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

  • Devin Hester, Brandon Marshall, Chilo Rachal

    Chicago Bears wide receiver Devin Hester (23) celebrates his touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys with Brandon Marshall (15) and Chilo Rachal (62) during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

  • Henry Melton, Tony Romo

    Chicago Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton knocks the ball away from Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

  • DeMarcus Ware, Jay Cutler

    Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware (94) causes Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) to fumble the ball during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Sharon Ellman)

  • Charlotte Anderson, Jessica Hart, Elsa Hosk, Denise Landman

    Charlotte Anderson, left, with Victoria Secret models Jessica Hart, Elsa Hosk and Victoria’s Secret PINK CEO Denise Landman, cut the ribbon for the Victoria’s Secret PINK store opening at Cowboys Stadium, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. Cowboys fans can shop the limited edition Victoria’s Secret PINK NFL Collection at the first-ever PINK store in a professional sports stadium or arena. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

  • Tony Romo, Kyle Orton

    Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) sits on the bench with quarterback Kyle Orton (18) after throwing an interception to Chicago Bears outside linebacker Lance Briggs during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. The Bears won 34-18. (AP Photo/Sharon Ellman)

  • Jessica Hart, Elsa Hoskman

    Victoria Secret models Jessica Hart, right, and Elsa Hosk pose for photos after the ribbon cutting for the new Victoria’s Secret PINK store opening at Cowboys Stadium, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. Cowboys fans can shop the limited edition Victoria’s Secret PINK NFL Collection at the first-ever PINK store in a professional sports stadium or arena. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

  • Tony Romo

    Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) leaves the field after throwing an interception to Chicago Bears outside linebacker Lance Briggs during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. The Bears won 34-18. (AP Photo/Sharon Ellman)

  • The Chicago Bears bench celebrates as outside linebacker Lance Briggs (55) returns an interception from Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

  • Jason Witten, D.J. Moore

    Chicago Bears cornerback D.J. Moore (30) tackles Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten (82) during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Sharon Ellman)

  • DeMarco Murray

    Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray (29) fumbles the ball during the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. He recovered the ball. (AP Photo/Sharon Ellman)

  • Tony Romo

    Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) sits on the bench during the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. The Bears won 34-18.(AP Photo/Sharon Ellman)

  • Tony Romo

    Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) sits on the bench during the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. The Bears won 34-18.(AP Photo/Sharon Ellman)

  • Brandon Marshall

    Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) celebrates a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Sharon Ellman)

  • Brandon Marshall, Eric Weems

    Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) celebrates his touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys with Eric Weems (14) during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Sharon Ellman)

  • Brandon Marshall

    Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) celebrates a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Sharon Ellman)

  • Brandon Marshall, Eric Weems

    Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) celebrates his touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys with Eric Weems (14) during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Sharon Ellman)

  • Tim Jennings, Jason Witten, Craig Steltz

    Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten (82) makes a touchdown reception between Chicago Bears cornerback Tim Jennings (26) and strong safety Craig Steltz (20) during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Sharon Ellman)

  • Lance Briggs, Doug Free, Lawrence Vickers, Tyron Smith

    Chicago Bears outside linebacker Lance Briggs (55) intercepts the football against Dallas Cowboys' Doug Free (68), Lawrence Vickers (47) and Tyron Smith (77) during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. The Bears won 34-18. (AP Photo/The Waco Tribune-Herald, Jose Yau)

  • Morris Claiborne, Alshon Jeffrey

    Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne (24) is tackled by Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (17) during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. The Bears won 34-18. (AP Photo/The Waco Tribune-Herald, Jose Yau)

  • Dez Bryant, Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman

    Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) is tackled by Chicago Bears outside linebacker Lance Briggs (55), Brian Urlacher (54) and Charles Tillman (33) during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. The Bears won 34-18. (AP Photo/The Waco Tribune-Herald, Jose Yau)

  • Morris Claiborne, Alshon Jeffrey

    Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne (24) escapes from Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (17) during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. The Bears won 34-18. (AP Photo/The Waco Tribune-Herald, Jose Yau)

  • Kellen Davis, Danny McCray

    Chicago Bears tight end Kellen Davis (87) pulls in a pass in front of Dallas Cowboys defensive back Danny McCray (40) during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. The Bears won 34-18. (AP Photo/The Waco Tribune-Herald, Jose Yau)

  • Brandon Marshall, Brandon Carr

    Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) pulls in a pass in front of Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr (39) during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. The Bears won 34-18. (AP Photo/The Waco Tribune-Herald, Jose Yau)

  • Brandon Marshall, Brandon Carr

    Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) pulls in a pass in front of Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr (39) during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. The Bears won 34-18. (AP Photo/The Waco Tribune-Herald, Jose Yau)

  • JAy Cutler, DeMArcus Ware, JAson Hatcher

    Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) is tackled by Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware (94) while Jason Hatcher (97) tries to intercept the balll during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. The Bears won 34-18. (AP Photo/The Waco Tribune-Herald, Jose Yau)

  • DeMarco Murray, D.J. Moore, Tim Jennings

    Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray (29) is tackled by Chicago Bears cornerback D.J. Moore (30) and Tim Jennings (26) during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. The Bears won 34-18. (AP Photo/The Waco Tribune-Herald, Jose Yau)

  • Henry Melton, Tony Romo

    Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) is sacked by Chicago Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton (69) during the second half ofan NFL football game Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. The Bears won 34-18. (AP Photo/The Waco Tribune-Herald, Jose Yau)

  • Tony Romo, Henry Melton

    Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) is sacked by Chicago Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton (69) during the second half an NFL football game Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. The Bears won 34-18. (AP Photo/The Waco Tribune-Herald, Jose Yau)