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10 observations on the Bears

Lovie Smith gave new meaning term 'Cover-2' when he referenced point spread his postgame speech. Click through gallery for 10

Lovie Smith gave new meaning to the term "Cover-2" when he referenced the point spread in his postgame speech. Click through the gallery for 10 more observations on the Bears.

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Updated: November 8, 2011 4:52PM

Coach Lovie Smith gave new meaning to the term “Cover-2” after the Bears’ 30-24 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

As Smith indirectly noted in his postgame press conference, in winning the game straight-up, the Bears also easily covered the point-spread.

‘‘We’re a good football team,’’ Smith said. ‘‘Not getting a whole lot of respect. When you go on the road, the Chicago Bears shouldn’t be eight-point underdogs. Our guys took notice of that.’’

That comment was a bit of a eye-opener. The NFL has long had an unwritten policy of discouraging any reference to gambling by anybody connected the league in any official capacity — a laughably ironic policy, given the accepted fact that gambling has had an incredible impact on the league’s popularity in general and Monday Night Football in particular.

Smith’s reference to the point-spread was totally harmless, of course — though it would be interesting to know if commissioner Roger Goodell took notice of it. Anybody who’s spent any time around the Bears’ staid, risk-averse coach knows he has no use for the Vegas point-spread other than for motivation. He’s been doing that since he became the Bears’ head coach in 2004. This is just a rare instance where he acknowledged it publicly.

With the Bears riding a high with a three-game winning streak (3-0 ATS), it might be considered a subtle example of how Smith is breaking out of the shell that seemed to put a limit on his success here. It’s too early to say he’s handling success better now than the first time around in 2005-06, when we had to trust him that promoting Bob Babich, Adam Archuleta and Mark Anderson were good moves. But it sure seems like he’s learned a lesson. If he tells me one more time, ‘‘That’s a good question’’ or ‘‘You make a good point,’’ we’ll know for certain. Publicly calling out a player for subpar performance and acknowledging the point-spread is one thing. Schmoozing the media instead of fighting it is an even better sign that after all these years, he finally gets it. Now, 10 more observations on the Bears.

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