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updated: 12/21/2013 10:11 PM

Marshall explains why he's so dedicated as a blocker

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  • Brandon Marshall pushes Browns cornerback Joe Haden away after a catch last week. Marshall says he has selfish reasons for being such a good blocker when the Bears are running the ball. "When the running game is doing good," Marshall said, "it opens up (the passing game)."

      Brandon Marshall pushes Browns cornerback Joe Haden away after a catch last week. Marshall says he has selfish reasons for being such a good blocker when the Bears are running the ball. "When the running game is doing good," Marshall said, "it opens up (the passing game)."
    Associated Press

 
 

As a seven-time 1,000-yard receiver and a three-time Pro Bowl pick, Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall doesn't have to block with the ferocity and effectiveness he displayed two weeks ago when he flattened Cowboys Pro Bowl linebacker Sean Lee.

So, why does he?

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"Selfishness," Marshall said, uttering the last word anyone expected to hear. Blocking is a chore many of the NFL's prima donna wide receivers consider dirty work or beneath them. Most selfish players don't sacrifice their bodies to block linebackers. But Marshall explains the irony.

"That's the juicy answer," he said. "I like to say that. I've been waiting to use that since OTAs. When the running game is doing good, it opens it up (the passing game). A lot of selfishness; I want to win and I get open easier."

But, Marshall says, it's the opposite of selfishness that has so many Bears putting up impressive offensive numbers this year.

"There's special something going on in this locker room, where guys just want to see each other succeed," he said. "I want to see (running back) Matt Forte have the best year he's ever had.

"It's a trickle-down effect. The individual stuff helps the organization, the team. When you see Alshon (Jeffery) balling, Martellus (Bennett) having a career year, Forte having a career year, it makes it so much easier for everybody."

At 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, Marshall has the body type to take on most defenders, and he believes that blocking takes his already lofty game to a higher level.

"You look at what's the one thing that can take you from good to great, and you stick to that," he said. "For me, it's not my speed, it's not going deep, it's taking advantage of my size, whether that's in the run game or in the route running to get my separation. So I just try to use what God's given me to be the best I can be."

Lessons learned:

Coach Marc Trestman doesn't believe in dwelling on defeats or victories, but he believes the disappointing overtime loss to the Vikings in Week 13 helped forge a more resilient team.

"What we've been through has enabled us to develop some toughness and some understanding of who we are up to this point," Trestman said. "And who we are, up to this point, is a team that's been able to overcome adversity, stay together and move forward.

"So from that standpoint, the Vikings game is one of those moments where we were able to overcome the disappointment of losing that game on that day. That hopefully will help us and give us thicker skin and give us a stronger backbone, give us more of a sense of urgency to move forward."

The Bears have back-to-back victories since the Vikings loss.

Better later:

Jay Cutler's fourth-quarter passer rating is 114.8, fourth best in the NFL, just behind Josh McCown's 116.8.

The Bears have been outscored in every quarter, except the fourth, where they hold a 40-point edge over opponents.

"I think the whole coaching staff does a good job of making corrections throughout the game," Cutler said. "Of keeping us in the loop of what they're seeing out there, what we like going forward. There's really good interaction between players and coaches of, 'I didn't like this play,' or 'I'm not seeing that very well,' or 'the blocking scheme for this isn't exactly what I want it to be.' (We're) just adapting on the run, so it's worked out."

The Eagles' Nick Foles leads the NFL with a 127.4 passer rating in the fourth quarter. Cutler is also second in the NFL in third-down passer rating at 105.9, trailing only the Titans' Ryan Fitzpatrick (113.9).

The fun bunch:

The Bears figure to have a huge matchup advantage with their No. 5 passing attack against an Eagles defense that is 31st in passing yards allowed.

Eagles coach Chip Kelly was impressed that the Bears' offense "didn't miss a beat when Jay went down and Josh stepped in. (It's) Marc's ability to use all the weapons he has at his disposal, and he has a lot of really good weapons. It's a fun offense to watch. It's not going to be a fun offense (today) to watch, but I enjoy watching them other times during the season."

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