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Bernstein: Coaches Buy Some Trust...For Now

By Dan Bernstein- Senior Columnist

(CBS) "We'll clean that up."

That's Lovie Smith, after a bad thing happens.

Protection problems, ineffective pass-rushing, missed gap assignments, whatever, it's treated by the Bears' head coach like a spilled bowl of Apple Jacks on the granite counter, or a spot on the rug where the dog just puked.

Bad football as mess. Not entirely inappropriate, but unsatisfying after the fact to those watching it happen.

He does appear to have his own supply of paper towels, though, that he's been able to pull out of the supply closet, to unroll as needed to mop up the pessimism (and who would engage in that, dare I ask?) and keep his team from slipping into the abyss.

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3-3 in a typically unpredictable season in a middling NFC is probably enough to still feel OK about whatever the Bears are, even if we don't.

Mike Tice's line blocked an established opposing attack, improbably as that seemed. Not having the execrable Frank Omiyale have to turnstile his way off the field – with Lance Louis installed at right tackle -- probably helped. How was he not excised sooner, really?

Jay Cutler's internal clock-voice slowed down from "I'm Going To Die!!," and past "I'm Going to be Maimed!," to "Umm…OK…," enough to play the game as designed. He's a very good quarterback, and clearly just needs a fair chance to succeed, by actually being able to just make throws.

The plan works when playing from the lead, as it does for so many teams. But few more so than an offense trying to pass only on its own terms. When not behind the chains due to embarrassing penalties, and managing the managables of down and distance, these idiots look far less idiotic. It's all saved from itself.

Benchings of Chris Harris and Brandon Meriweather look prescient, even if Major Wright and Chris Conte benefited from Donovan McNabb on the downside – and I'm being nice. It will carry weight for Smith going forward that his move looked like it paid off, regardless, because it was inarguably right. "Cover-2" means just that, Smith reinforces, not "Bad-angle-2," "Shoot-upfield-and-miss-2," or "Let-the-guy-run-behind-you-2."

Even Jerry Angelo can sleep a bit better, with Stephen Paea not just dressed, but effective. The tackle for whom Angelo uptraded has been a healthy scratch all year, yet made a handful of noticeable plays, including a sack/safety.

As long as teams are still dumb enough to let Devin Hester return kicks and punts, there's no reason not to enjoy their judgment. Bring it, dopes.

It makes you want to give Harbaugh-shakes to everybody. Overagressive handstab-back-claps, testosterone issues, and gay overtones for all. Sparta!!!

And upset of upsets, village lunatic Mike Martz got his damn plays called. May that keep happening at home, amid the fans too dumb to shut up, and on the road where fans are smart enough to actually know what to do.

Small victories, folks. Let's enjoy them.

And that's what this one probably was.

But it's better than the alternative, and it was fun.

Dan Bernstein has been the co-host of "Boers and Bernstein" since 1999. He joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995. The Boers and Bernstein Show airs every weekday from 1PM to 6PM on The Score, 670AM. Read more of Bernstein's columns here. Follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.
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