The turning point didn't reveal itself on Canadian soil or during a 27-13 win over the Vikings on Sunday that might prove to be one of the biggest wins of Lovie Smith's coaching tenure.
It likely can be traced to a staff meeting at Halas Hall during the bye week when the Bears' college of coaches put their headsets together and realized changes had to be made to put a mistake-prone offense in position to ensure the continued employment of a staff boasting four current or former NFL head coaches.
What refused to reveal itself during the first seven games is the type of offensive identity we've seen the last two weeks. A formula was discovered during the bye week that accentuates the team's strengths and camouflages its deficiencies, therefore giving a unit that was overmatched a fighting chance.
Despite all the criticism heaped on Smith the last three years, much of which has been deserved, and regardless of the skepticism surrounding the hiring of offensive coordinator Mike Martz and the potentially insurmountable challenges presented to offensive line coach Mike Tice, what we've witnessed in back-to-back games is a sign of good coaching.
Even those who have been shaking their fists while demanding the end of the Smith era must admit that at 6-3, heading into Thursday night's game against the injury-ravaged Dolphins, these Bears are not underachieving. In fact, given what we know about this team's drafting history, it's more likely the opposite is true.
Smith and his staff made the best possible use of the bye. After two straight wins, this coaching staff deserves its due.
''We're doing what works right now,'' running back Chester Taylor said. ''Martz is doing a great job of working toward our strengths, mixing up run and pass and keeping defenses honest.''
Despite all the talk about Martz being inflexible, he has been the opposite the last two weeks. He has Jay Cutler dropping back quickly and getting the ball off in rhythm. He has him moving out of the pocket, where he's most effective and less likely to make errant throws off his back foot.
Despite Martz's love for the passing game, he's running the ball in an attempt to take pressure off the offensive line and ensure that opposing defenses respect the play-action pass.
He also made three brilliant play calls during the Vikings game, two of which went for touchdowns, although the roll-out-right-throw-back-left screen to Greg Olsen was nullified by penalty.
The 19-yard pass on third-and-one to blocking tight end Kellen Davis was put in specifically for the Vikings and was set up by another short-yardage play earlier in the game.
''We were just waiting for another third-and-short,'' Davis said. ''We got the look we wanted. It was a great play call, and it worked perfectly.''
Smith's teams have not always excelled at in-game adjustments. Give him time and he can prepare a team as well as anyone, but when other teams adjust he hasn't always made the necessary corresponding moves. That hasn't been the case this season largely because Rod Marinelli has simplified his scheme so much that few tweaks are needed.
While Steve Hutchinson gave his defense credit for making halftime adjustments that helped limit Minnesota to 14 second-half rushing yards, Bears players didn't understand what the Vikings' guard was referring to because they claim the only thing they did differently was execute their original assignments better.
''We don't talk much about the other team,'' safety Chris Harris said. ''We focus on what we do, our fundamentals, and reading our keys. I honestly feel that we could not look at a lick of game tape and go out and beat a team defensively because it's all about the system. Our keys are 100 percent. If you read your keys and know what you're supposed to be looking at, we'll be fine.
''That's the best thing about this defense. It's built for short weeks. We've got a short week. We may not be able to look at as much tape as you would in a regular week, but if you stay true to the keys the system will take care of itself.''
Making the playoffs will take care of itself if the Bears keep playing as well in all three phases as they did against Minnesota. Fair is fair. Even those who have spent the last three years demanding a well-coached team should acknowledge that's what they got Sunday. That's not to say the Bears can't improve. They can and must.
For the moment, however, the cliche rings true. The bye came at the perfect time, and the coaching staff made the most of it.