JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It seemed like a foregone conclusion the Chicago Bears would find success on the ground against the 30th-rated rushing defense in the NFL.
But while Matt Forte topped the 100-yard rushing mark (107) for the first time this season, the true star of the offense in the Bears' 41-3 victory was wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who made tough catch after tough catch when the game was competitive in the first half and early third quarter.
Marshall torched the Jaguars' defense to the tune of 12 catches for 144 yards and one touchdown, his third 100-yard receiving game since he joined the Bears.
However, in the postgame interview room Marshall praised the Jaguars secondary for playing him tough.
"Hats off to (Jacksonville cornerback) No. 21 (Derek) Cox, I played against him last year in the preseason," Marshall said. "He honestly beat me in the first half. The first half, he won that, and really humbled me. I was on the sidelines talking to myself, like, 'Man, these guys get paid, too', just to talk myself into me not winning. There's a lot of things I can improve on, be more consistent. There were a couple of times I was out of position on a few routes, a few plays. So I have to be more consistent with my play."
The Pro Bowl wideout is on pace to have a blistering 112 receptions for 1,587 yards, which would shatter the Bears' all-time marks held by Marty Booker (100 catches in 2001) and Marcus Robinson (1,400 receiving yards in 1999). If Marshall had started his career in Chicago, he would already be the most accomplished receiver in franchise history based on his production at previous stops Denver and Miami, even though Marshall is still only 28 years old.
"I haven't thought about it," Marshall said. "It's always an honor to have the opportunity, that platform to have that chance. But it's all about winning. If we continue to win we're all going to be special and we're all going to go down in the record books."
"That's why we brought him here, to be that guy, that No. 1 wide receiver," Bears quarterback Jay Cutler said. "When he gets a one-on-one (match up) we expect him to win 100 percent of the time, hands down. He comes to the sidelines and says, ‘I didn't win,’ I say, ‘Why not?’ He's that guy and he's living up to it."