ARLINGTON, Texas – Bears linebacker Lance Briggs ended a wild two-play swing of traded turnovers by picking a ball out of the air and racing 74 yards for a touchdown to help the Chicago Bears beat the Dallas Cowboys 34-18 Monday night.
It was the second interception return for a touchdown for the Bears.
Chicago had its first fumble of the season midway through the third quarter when DeMarcus Ware sacked Jay Cutler, forcing the ball loose.
Mario Butler recovered for Dallas at the Bears 27.
It only took one play before the Bears got the ball back, and scored their second defensive touchdown of the game.
Tony Romo was trying to escape pressure when he was hit from behind by Henry Melton. The ball popped forward into the air and Briggs, a 31-year-old linebacker, grabbed it and rumbled to the end zone on a play ruled an interception instead of a fumble. It was the first pick he returned for a score since 2005.
Charles Tillman, another of the five 30-something defensive starters for the Bears, returned an interception 25 yards for a touchdown before halftime.
Chicago opened the second half with a 73-yard drive capped by Cutler’s 34-yard TD pass to Devin Hester, who raced passed rookie cornerback Morris Claiborne and had to make a lunging catch at the goal line.
Despite a screen shot frozen on the huge video board over the field that raised the question of whether the ball might have hit the ground as Hester rolled over, referee Walt Anderson confirmed the on-field ruling of touchdown after reviewing the play.
There was another play involving Claiborne overturned on review later in the third quarter. When Alsho Jeffery was going down after a catch, Claiborne stripped the ball and started running the other way. It was originally ruled a fumble, but the replay showed the receiver still controlled the ball when his elbow hit the ground.