Breaking Down Brandon Marshall's Dominant Outing vs. Colts

Andrew GardaFeatured ColumnistSeptember 11, 2012

CHICAGO, IL- SEPTEMBER 09: Brandon Marshall #15 of the Chicago Bears makes a catch over  Antoine Bethea #41 of the Indianapolis Colts on September 9, 2012 during their 2012 NFL season opener at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
David Banks/Getty Images

When the Miami Dolphins traded Brandon Marshall for what appeared to be a bunch of magic beans and a pat on the head, they insisted those of us who thought they were crazy were, indeed, crazy ourselves.

Crazy like a fox I say. Or more to the point, a Bear.

The Bears certainly can crow about this move since Brandon Marshall has looked every bit the Pro Bowler he is in the preseason and now the regular season.

It wasn't just the stats, though his nine catches for 119 yards and a touchdown were mighty impressive. It was the way he overpowered the Colts at every turn.

Marshall manhandled the secondary on a ton of shorter routes on Sunday. While Marshall can certainly get vertical, he ultimately was sent no further than 24 yards and most of his catches came on balls that were thrown quickly out of Cutler's hands.

This never allowed the Colts to really get in position to stop him. Against a faster, more competent team, it may be a little different, but against an underwhelming team (which lost Dwight Freeney), the short Cutler to Marshall passes were deadly.

On his touchdown reception, Marshall used just the threat of his physicality to back former teammate Vontae Davis off enough for an easy turn and catch. He also used his body to shield the ball during the catch so Davis had no way to prevent it.

Marshall had more than a few catches against Davis, and at some points I wondered if Marshall's rep as a tough, hard-charging player factored in because Davis gave him a lot of space.

The ripple effect has already been felt. Alshon Jeffery was the guy Cutler went to when Marshall needed a break.

When the Colts started to focus on Jeffrey, Marshall torched them again.

It's a lot to cover when a team has a dominant receiver like Marshall as well as solid players like Jeffery, Earl Bennett and the terrible twosome in the backfield, Matt Forte and Mike Bush.

Marshall continued to run those short routes all day and made catches even when an extra defender was haunting him.

While he didn't catch all of his targets, drops did not appear to be an issue as Cutler and the Bears continuously kept the chains moving.

The Bears have something they have lacked for a long time: a true threat at the wide receiver position.

Marshall not only produces on his own, but as we saw this weekend, he can help others produce as well.

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