Bears vs. Cowboys: Tony Romo Throws 5 INT as Chicago Cruises to 34-18 Win

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistOctober 1, 2012

The Chicago Bears defeated the Dallas Cowboys 34-18 Monday night, due in large part to Tony Romo's seemingly endless number of giveaways.

Romo would wind up with five interceptions, but this picture sums up his night in every way:

The Cowboys offense was a mess overall, with a futile score in the final minute making the game look closer than it was. Dez Bryant dropped several critical passes and DeMarco Murray couldn't find space—but it's the quarterback's responsibility to pick his team up at some point.

The Cowboys' game effectively ended with just around 8:30 remaining. Romo tried to hit Miles Austin on a slant over the middle, but threw his fourth interception of the game instead.

The game started slow. No one scored until the second quarter, when Robbie Gould got the Bears on the board with a 43-yard goal.

On the following drive, Tony Romo tried to draw Dallas back even, only to find Charles Tillman on the receiving end of his pass. Dez Bryant appeared to run the wrong route, and the miscommunication resulted in Tillman's 25-yard waltz into the end zone.

If it feels like you've seen Tillman do that before, you're probably right. Check out this tidbit from ESPN Stats & Info:

Charles Tillman: 25-yard Int Return for TD is 6th of his career, extending own franchise record

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 2, 2012

Romo would answer with a 10-yard strike to Miles Austin with 20 seconds remaining in the half, but that pick to Tillman would set the tone for the second half.

Chicago came out of the locker room firing on all cylinders. Not only was the defense swarming Romo and company, but Devin Hester unleashed a lethal double-move on this 34-yard touchdown toss:

The Bears never looked back. Granted, the Cowboys' follies helped them along, but Chicago played a very good game overall. Lance Briggs' 74-yard interception return with 6:25 remaining in the third quarter took the air out of Dallas with one decisive blow:

After a 39-yard field goal from Dan Bailey with 2:14 remaining in the third quarter, Dallas had some life. With the score 24-10, Morris Claiborne appeared to strip Bears rookie receiver Alshon Jeffery, but the call was overturned after a booth review.

While Romo struggled, Jay Cutler actually played quite well. You already saw the touchdown to Hester, but he made several accurate, and well-advised, throws throughout the night. He finished 18-of-24 passing for 275 yards and two touchdowns.

He was able to find Brandon Marshall seven times for 138 yards and a touchdown, and Hester three times. Matt Forte was active, and did carry the ball 13 times for 52 yards, but Chicago's offense was mostly Cutler's responsibility.

As bad as Romo was at times, Dallas' skill players didn't give him any support. The Cowboys signal-caller finished the night 31-of-43 for 307 yards and one touchdown, but he had those five critical interceptions.

ESPN Stats & Info told us how critical that third pick was:

Entering tonight, the Cowboys are 1-6 in games in which Tony Romo throws 3 or more interceptions.

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 2, 2012

He played poorly enough that Kyle Orton actually got a chance to play in the game's waning minutes. Orton was able to hit Jason Witten with 34 seconds remaining for a five-yard score, but it was meaningless to everyone who doesn't own Witten in their fantasy league.

Bryant caught eight passes for 112 yards, but he was targeted 13 times. He and Kevin Ogletree each could have prevented Romo interceptions.

Jason Witten was the lone bright spot on the Dallas offense, hauling in 13 catches for 112 yards and a touchdown. Dallas' offense was one-dimensional—Murray had 24 yards on 11 carries—and Chicago's notorious takeaway-based defense took advantage.

Overall, this was a pretty ugly game. Chicago looked much better in the second half, leaving no doubt who would emerge victorious. The mistakes made by Dallas' offense were too much for Dallas to overcome, and the score reflected that.

The 2-2 Cowboys will have a bye week to think things over, while the 3-1 Bears travel to Jacksonville in Week 5.