Chicago Bears star WR Brandon Marshall is a matchup nightmare for defensive backs due to his height and incredible athleticism, and he enjoyed a big game against the New York Giants last night. Marshall was finally able to get the targets with defenses now well-aware of Alshon Jeffery’s talents on the other side of the field, so Marshall and Jay Cutler were able to connect again. The Bears purposefully played a low-risk offensive attack, and Cutler delivered by sitting back and making several sharp throws. He finished with a QB Rating over 100 and showed excellent precision. Brandon Marshall was at the forefront of moving the chains, as he caught nine passes for 87 yards on 11 targets, catching just about everything thrown at him (we’ll forgive an untimely drop on fourth down). His two touchdown receptions were essentially “gimmes” for Jay Cutler, and Marshall proved too much to handle for the Giants secondary.
But if you ask Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas, the reason why Marshall had such a big day is because he was able to push off. From ESPN NFL Nation’s Dan Graziano, “Definitely. He does it all the time. I talked to the refs before the game about it. He’s a big, physical guy and they let him get away with it. I had my hands on him, but I couldn’t make a play on the ball because I got thrown away.”
Thomas stated that Marshall pushed off on one of his touchdown catches, and he doesn’t sound too pleased with the non-call. Marshall is 6’4″, so he holds a four-inch height advantage over Thomas, so it was a very difficult matchup for Thomas to begin with.
Not only is Thomas complaining about non-calls on Marshall, but he is also complaining about a defensive holding penalty on Giants safety Antrel Rolle. He is upset about that, largely because he believes there was a double-standard for aggressiveness on offense and defense. He said, “If you’re going to call the game aggressive, call it the whole game. Don’t wait until the last minute and then throw the flag. They were pushing off the whole game and the refs weren’t calling it.”
Sour grapes, or does Thomas have a point with either or both? I do believe that Marshall pushes off because I’ve seen him do it many times throughout this career, but the fact of the matter is that the Giants should have done a better job containing him.