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 host Dallas Cowboys 34-18 on Monday night.

Though Tony 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.

"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 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 6½ minutes left.

Cutler was 18 of 24 overall for 275 yards.

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 ahead 24-7.


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Colts: The team announced that new coach Chuck Pagano had been hospitalized for leukemia treatment and probably would not return to full coaching duties this season.

He will be replaced on an interim basis by offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.

The news hit hard in all corners of the team complex.

"When I first heard about it, my heart dropped," cornerback Jerraud Powers said. "You think about your family members or someone that's actually been affected by it. But Chuck will fight this thing and he will beat this thing, there's no doubt in my mind.'

Jets: While acknowledging that Mark Sanchez has to raise his game, coach Rex Ryan did his best to defuse any talk about a quarterback change, declaring Sanchez the undisputed starter over Tim Tebow.

"I just know in my heart, right now, that this is not the time," Ryan said a day after the 34-0 loss to the 49ers. "I think Tim is an outstanding player, and I think Mark is. Right now, I think Mark gives us our best opportunity to win."

  • New York signed cornerback Aaron Berry, who was arrested twice this summer and cut by the Detroit Lions. To make room on the roster, the Jets waived-injured tight end Dedrick Epps, who hurt his right knee Sunday when he was hit by 49ers safety Dashon Goldson after catching a 9-yard pass from Tebow.

  • Wide receiver Santonio Holmes is expected to be sidelined for at least a few weeks because of a left foot injury suffered against the 49ers. X-rays were negative, and the team was awaiting results of an MRI exam.

    Seahawks: Despite the continued struggles of the offense and the worst passing production in the NFL, Pete Carroll is not ready to make a switch from rookie quarterback Russell Wilson.

    Carroll said Monday that Wilson remains the Seahawks' best option despite throwing three interceptions in Sunday's 19-13 loss in St. Louis. Seattle's passing offense is last in the league with just 523 net yards in four games. Wilson is completing 60 percent of his passes, but the big chunks of yardage are largely missing.

    Titans: Quarterback Jake Locker has no structural damage to his left, nonthrowing shoulder, and coach Mike Munchak says Locker will be day-to-day this week.

    Panthers: Coach Ron Rivera said he is considering a change at free safety after Haruki Nakamura had a hand in allowing all three Atlanta touchdowns and a 59-yard reception by Roddy White when the Falcons were backed up at their 1-yard line with 59 seconds left in the game. That reception led to Matt Bryant's game-winning 40-yard field goal.

    Broncos: Linebacker Joe Mays says he's not going to change his style after getting suspended a game for a hit that sent Houston quarterback Matt Schaub's helmet and a piece of his ear flying. Mays was also fined $50,000 but got to keep his $200,000-plus game check.

    He immediately apologized to Schaub for the hit during the Texans' 31-25 win at Denver on Sept. 23, which Mays called unintentional. Schaub accepted his apology.

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