- Michael C. Wright, ESPN Staff Writer
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears receiver Brandon Marshall called the matchup Sunday against the Green Bay Packers "the biggest game of my career," and considers it "personal" to face a team he invites to cover him man-to-man.
Rather than credit Green Bay personnel for limiting him to two catches for 24 yards during a Week 2 Bears loss at Lambeau Field, Marshall called Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers "their player MVP," adding he doesn't respect the players "talking about how awesome a job they (do) shutting down players" when the group often double-teamed the receiver in the first meeting.
"I had this game marked since we played them last. I heard exactly what the corner Tramon (Williams) was saying after the game," Marshall said. "(Charles) Woodson, those guys do a lot of talking. Coach Capers did an amazing job of game planning us and game planning me. I didn't beat double coverage and triple coverage or whatever they were throwing at us. I take it as a slap in my face when guys talk about my lack of ability to do something against them when they have help all over the place."
"I'm not going to use the word hate," Marshall added, "but I really dislike the Green Bay Packers and their players."
Often smothered by Packers defenders operating out of two-man coverage -- cornerbacks play man-to-man with a safety playing over the top -- in the Week 2 loss, Marshall spent the majority of the game as a decoy. The first pass to go Marshall's way in that outing came at the 7:20 mark of the third quarter, and the slightly overthrown Jay Cutler pass would've gone for a touchdown had the receiver not dropped the ball.
Entering that game, Cutler wished Green Bay's secondary "good luck" at utilizing physical tactics against the Bears receivers, with Marshall adding "I do welcome that."
Cutler said "we've got some dudes that if you're gonna get in their face, our speed guys are gonna get around them and our big guys are gonna throw and go. So we invite press coverage. We invite man (coverage)."
But the Packers took a different tactic in that meeting, which caused the Bears to struggle offensively. Harassed all night by a relentless pass rush that generated seven sacks, Cutler completed 11-of-27 passes for 126 yards and tossed four interceptions en route to finishing with his worst passer rating of the season at 28.2.
Marshall currently leads the NFL in receptions with 101 and ranks No. 2 in the league in receiving yards with 1,342. The receiver invited the Packers to back up their talk with play as opposed to schemes.
After the Packers defeated the Bears 23-10 on Sept. 13, Woodson made scathing remarks about Cutler and the Bears receivers.
"Heard some talk out of the Bears: Packers secondary not working coverage, bigger receivers ... we heard about it," Woodson told ESPN's Rachel Nichols on the field after the game. "We understand that Jay is excited about his new weapons, but it's the same-old Jay. We don't need luck. Jay will throw us the ball."
Cutler did just that in the first meeting, but he won't be facing Woodson on Sunday when the teams meet at Soldier Field. Packers coach Mike McCarthy declared Woodson out Wednesday as he continues to recover from a broken collarbone suffered in Week 7.
Marshall mentioned Woodson on Wednesday, saying, "I want him out there because of some of the things that they say. I take it personal when someone jabs at the way I approach the game or my career."
With Woodson expected to sit, the challenge from Marshall still stands.
"I'm looking forward to one-on-one coverage," he said. "Hopefully those in games like this may go to their coach and say, 'Let me have him. I want Brandon Marshall. I want to stop Brandon Marshall. Let me have him one-on-one, press coverage.' And let's see what happens."
That's not likely the tactic the Packers will utilize, although it wouldn't be a surprise to see them give Marshall and Cutler a variety of different looks.
McCarthy wasn't sure what set off Marshall, saying "I'm not educated on the specifics as far as quotes or what may have upset Brandon."
McCarthy expressed respect for Marshall's ability, and said the Packers put together "a plan and we stuck to it" in the first meeting.
Bears coach Lovie Smith said that while Marshall's words do "a little bit" to motivate teammates, "guys performing does a lot."
"What Brandon Marshall is doing that's stimulating our locker room and our team is his play on the football field, from start to finish," Smith said. "Talking just doesn't get an awful lot done. But Brandon is just performing each week at a high level, and those are the kind of guys that are going to carry us through this last stretch."
Having lost four of their last five outings, the Bears find themselves in a tenuous position needing to win at least two of the last three to advance to the postseason. Green Bay can clinch the NFC North title win a win, which would also mark the Packers' sixth-consecutive triumph over the Bears dating back to Christmas of 2010.
Marshall approached the podium for his news conference Wednesday with a replica of the shabby Christmas tree from the "A Charlie Brown Christmas" cartoon, and said that "metaphorically, our season looks like this tree right now."
"We're standing, bare and just ugly," Marshall said. "But there's still hope. Where we stand today, our goal is to win the NFC championship, beat the Green Bay Packers, (and) win the Super Bowl. All of that still can be under this Christmas tree."