SAN FRANCISCO -- Brandon Marshall's night culminated in a four-word expression of frustration after catching two balls Monday night in a 32-7 stomping at San Francisco because, really, there simply wasn't much left to say.
Having missed a pass near the sideline close to the end of the game, Marshall turned his anger toward a teammate.
"I'm a grown man," Marshall said he told the unnamed teammate. "That's the big line that a lot of us like to use," he later admitted.
It was believed that Marshall became involved in an altercation with Matt Forte after the play, but the receiver denied he and the running back verbally sparred.
"No, it wasn't Matt. It was actually another guy," Marshall said. "After that play on the sideline, I was a little frustrated because I didn't make the play. They told me to get back, and I actually hurt my shoulder. So I was telling the guy I hurt my shoulder.
"I actually told them, 'I'm grown.' It was one of those games where things were going wrong for us. I have to do a better job when I'm frustrated of not letting it show. I definitely let the team down. I should've made that play, and I didn't."
The altercation made little sense, just like nearly everything else for Marshall, who tied his season-low of two catches for 21 yards and a touchdown against a 49ers defense that mixed double teams with some two-man coverage Monday night to neutralize the team's go-to weapon on offense.
Marshall's output resembled his production during a Sept. 13 loss at Green Bay. In that game, he caught two passes for 24 yards against a Packers defense that stymied the Bears with two-man coverage. Apparently, the 49ers played the copycat game, in addition to mixing in some double teams.
"They played two-man," Marshall said. "They tried to take me out. When I'm out wide, it's easy for them to do that. They didn't do anything special. I have to do a better job of just trying to beat double coverage and look at some different techniques and ways I can get open."
By aligning a safety down closer to the tackle box and moving the cornerback to Marshall's side inside, the 49ers created a situation the receiver called "tough, but at the same time I still have to make plays."
The lack of time afforded quarterback Jason Campbell by Chicago's leaky offensive line certainly didn't help. Left ambling through the locker room after Monday's game with a headache and sore ribs by another night of shoddy protection up front, Campbell suffered six sacks, including a shot from Ahmad Brooks in the second half that left the quarterback winching in pain in the grass.
Campbell filled in for concussed starter Jay Cutler, and Marshall admitted the backup "needs more guys around him making plays, and we didn't do that tonight."
Bears coach Lovie Smith typically avoids excuses, but acknowledged porous protection limited Marshall's chances. Smith also credited the 49ers for "good play on their part."
"It's hard getting the ball to him when you don't have a lot of time; you start with that," Smith said. "They know of course he's our primary target. So balls will come his way. We didn't play well. Brandon was a part of that. I don't think they did anything out of the ordinary to take him away."
Still, San Francisco did it. The rest of the clubs receivers, meanwhile, failed as usual to fill the void left when the 49ers took away Marshall.
Rookie Alshon Jeffery made his return after missing four games, but contributed two catches for 15 yards before leaving with a knee injury. Devin Hester hauled in three passes for 23 yards, with the longest going 9 yards.
Marshall came into the contest averaging 7.4 receptions per game and 100.4 yards. Having generated five 100-yard receiving games through the first nine games, Marshall had hit the century mark in two straight outings going into Monday's matchup.