Styf: Bears walk NFL's fine line between good, bad

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The difference between good and bad in the National Football League isn't that distant.

Bad is an injury to Ben Roethlisberger away from happening to any team. The Steelers were playing well but lost twice in a row without him.

What works isn't straight forward. San Francisco can dominate the Bears after losing handily to the Vikings. Then, the Bears can dominate those same Vikings.

Before you say it, be honest with yourself and realize that wasn't all about Jay Cutler missing a game.

On Sunday, we'll see two polar opposites on the coaching spectrum.

Ho-hum Lovie and Excitable Pete.

There are arguments for both.

Professionals can motivate themselves, they need consistency not blind enthusiasm.

Or maybe they really do need any sort of motivation they can get.

The reality is that every player is different. And what works one time might not again.

That's why Jon Gruden won a Super Bowl in Tampa Bay but was ultimately fired there too.

Sometimes, change for change's sake can even help.

That's an explanation for why Brandon Marshall has been so good this year after having so many issues in the recent past. Same for Jonathan Scott, who has been good so far since being cut by so many teams before.

The point is that there is no true solution to winning in the NFL. It evolves quickly, and coaches and players need to as well.

That's why Miami's wildcat worked until it didn't. And why cover 2 was once the answer to everything, until it was solved.

Coaches who can evolve will fare the best, as long as they have decent talent.

Which brings us to the Bears, and their evolving offense.

Something was different Sunday, though I'm not sure I can pinpoint it.

The offensive linemen were somewhat the same, but better. The receiving corps remained one-dimensional. And Kellen Davis was Kellen Davis.

But, somehow, it worked.

Finding that space as often as they can the remainder of the season is the key to the Bears' success, no doubt.

How they got there, well, is harder to define.

Cutler was rested and healthy. He looked great from start to finish. He even made Matt Spaeth look good. And while he picked apart the Vikings, the running game fed off his success.

They still started off poorly. First a lost fumble by Matt Forte, then a sack and a quick punt.

But eventually it started working, and the offense fed off what the defense handed them.

They substituted to go big and get the short yardage with Michael Bush on the ground and they hit Marshall across the middle for short, crucial gains when they needed them.

For the first time in a while, their playcalling seemed to make sense. But that's only because it found success.

I'd love to simplify and explain why they were good with a simple quote or fact. But it just doesn't work that way.

Some days you're good. Some days you're not. And the Bears saw both sides of that spectrum in a seven-day period. Sunday, we'll find out how long it lasts.

The pick: The Bears likely will have Matt Forte and likely keep the positive forward momentum, remaining alone in first place in the NFC North.

Bears 21, Seahawks 17

• Write to Northwest Herald Sports Editor Jon Styf at jstyf@shawmedia.com.

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