Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Stock Watch: Marshall's record pace
By Michael C. Wright
Brandon Marshall followed up his 138-yard game against the Cowboys with a 12-catch-, 144-yard performance in Jacksonville.
1. Jay Cutler, QB: Started out slow in the win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, completing just 50 percent of his passes for 110 yards, an interception and a passer rating of 45.8, but turned it on in the second half and launched a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall. After a pair of stinkers in Week 2 and Week 3, Cutler has posted passer ratings of 140.1 and 88.8 over the last two games with four touchdowns and one interception.
2. Brandon Marshall, WR: Caught seven passes for 138 yards and a touchdown on Oct. 1 against the Dallas Cowboys, putting him on pace for 1,408 receiving yards. Well, somehow, Marshall picked up the pace with another strong outing against the Jaguars. Marshall caught 12 balls for 144 yards and a touchdown, and is now on pace for Bears single-season records in receptions (112) and yardage (1,587). Marshall's 12 catches against the Jaguars marked the most since Marty Booker's 12-grab game on Oct. 7, 2002 against the Green Bay Packers.
3. Lance Briggs, OLB: CB Charles Tillman is certainly deserving of this spot, too, considering the fact he and Briggs became the first teammates in NFL history to score defensive touchdowns in back-to-back contests. Briggs ranks No. 2 in team history with five interception returns for TDs, but has six defensive TDs over his career. Briggs also chipped in four tackles and a sack against the Jaguars. Despite Briggs' age, he definitely hasn't lost a step.
1. Chris Williams, OT: A former first-round pick and starter in 2010 and 2011, Williams was among the club's inactives for the second week in a row, which from this vantage point casts doubt on his future with the Bears considering he's in the final year of his contract. After competing with J'Marcus Webb during training camp for the starting job at left tackle, Williams seems to have fallen out of favor with the staff, which seems now to prefer newcomer Jonathan Scott as the swing tackle.
2. Matt Toeaina, DT: Toeaina finally made his return to the field against the Jaguars after being inactive for three consecutive weeks. Strong against the run, Toeaina likely made the active roster because the Bears anticipated the Jaguars feeding the ball to running back Maurice Jones-Drew. So although Toeaina played a role in the Bears limiting Jacksonville to just 60 yards rushing, the veteran contributed only one assisted tackle.
3. Adam Podlesh, P: Podlesh made return to Jacksonville, which drafted him in the fourth round of 2007 and immediately named him the starter. But the punter was outdone by Jacksonville's Bryan Anger, who knocked two punts inside the 20 to Podlesh's one, and finished with a 47.2-yard net average, compared to Podlesh's 34-yard net average. Podlesh's longest punt of the day was 43 yards, while Anger hit a 65-yarder. Given his four-year tenure with the Jaguars and experience, it was expected that he'd outperform his rookie counterpart.