Big game by Marshall a shoe-in
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Clutch catches ultimately scream louder than lime-green cleats and drown out postgame whining about lack of targets.
Brandon Marshall got back to raising the volume in his game and not his voice Thursday night.
That was sweet music blasting at Soldier Field. Marshall smiled and so did Bears fans, as the four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver got back to being the main target of Jay Cutler.
After being targeted only five times and catching just 4 passes for 30 yards in Sunday's 26-18 loss to the Saints — then complaining afterward about his lack of involvement in the offense — Marshall let only his play do the talking against the Giants.
And that's all he wanted.
In the first half alone during the Bears' 27-21 win, he caught 6 passes on 8 targets for 65 yards, including touchdown grabs of 10 and 3 yards, in helping the Bears build a 24-14 lead.
Marshall finished with a season-high 9 receptions for 87 yards (11 targets). He had four games of double-digit catches in his 118-reception season last year.
Meanwhile, four days after catching a career-high 10 passes for a franchise-record 218 receiving yards, Alshon Jeffery had just 1 catch for 27 yards.
"Every week it's going to be somebody different," Jeffery said. "One game it might be me, Brandon, Martellus (Bennett), Earl (Bennett), (or Matt) Forte."
As he said he would during the week at practice, Marshall sported lime-green cleats in support of mental illness awareness week. Diagnosed with borderline personality disorder in 2011, Marshall stands to be fined by the NFL for a uniform violation.
He won't scream about it.
He plans to match the fine and donate the dollar amount to his charity. Marshall figures to deem it a small price to pay since the Bears won the game and if it raised awareness about mental illness, all the better.
And while Marshall led the Bears in targets against the Giants, who mainly played single coverage against him, Cutler tried to spread the wealth. Eight Bears had balls thrown their way. Fullback Tony Fiammetta caught his first pass of the season, while Cutler even threw to backup running back Michael Bush (1 reception) and seldom-used wide receiver Joe Anderson. Neither Bush or Anderson had a reception heading into the game.
"We just take what (the defense) gives us," Jeffery said. "Whoever is open (Cutler) will get the ball to."
After the game, a cleaned-up Marshall sported a bow tie and dark-rimmed glasses.
"This journey (from BPD) is still a work in progress," Marshall said during a postgame interview on network TV. "It was me sitting down, taking a step back and saying, 'What's going on?' When I got the right help, it was like an epiphany."
Thursday night, he got back to making lots of clutch catches on the football field.
Bob LeGere's picks
-3 BEARS 21, Bengals 20
-4 ½ LIONS 27, Vikings 24
-9 Patriots 27, BILLS 23
+3 Falcons 37, SAINTS 33
-3 ½ Chiefs 27, JAGUARS 17
-7 STEELERS 20, Titans 16
-3 Bucs 27, JETS 13
-3 ½ Seahawks 31, PANTHERS 24
E BROWNS 19, Dolphins 17
-10 COLTS 38, Raiders 19
-4 ½ 49ERS 26, Packers 24
-4 ½ RAMS 23, Cardinals 14
-3 ½ COWBOYS 34, Giants 24
-3 ½ REDSKINS 27, Eagles 20
-3 ½ Texans 31, CHARGERS 13
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