Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler and superstar WR Brandon Marshall have one of the best QB-WR connections in the NFL today, and it dates back to their days with the Denver Broncos. But coming into Thursday night’s game against the New York Giants, the Bears duo was unable to fully showcase that connection, as defenses caught on to the fact that Cutler and Marshall are simply amazing when they hook up. They saw last year’s high target totals and big numbers from Marshall, and they decided to throw all their coverage at Marshall. That led to frustration on Marshall’s part for low numbers, but opposing defenses were merely allowing themselves to be destroyed by Alshon Jeffery, who posted over 200 receiving yards in Week 5 against the New Orleans Saints.
Last night’s matchup against the Giants was viewed as a statistical bounce-back day for Brandon Marshall, as he would be able to go up against a weak secondary that wouldn’t be able to contend with him. Beyond that, teams are now unwilling to sell their coverage on Marshall, because they now know that Jeffery will burn them, too.
Marshall did indeed have a big game last night, as he tore up the Giants secondary in a 27-21 victory. He hauled in nine passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns, with both of those TDs being as easy as they come. Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears decided to play a low-risk game, as the normally gunslinging QB took very few shots downfield and averaged barely over ten yards per completion. The approach worked well, as Cutler was very precise. More importantly, the Bears did not throw an interception, whereas they forced Eli Manning to throw three of them.
Cutler finished the game with some excellent numbers on the analytics charts, as he had an ESPN TQBR of 88.9, a Win Probability Added of 0.51, a 13.3 EPA, and 61.9% of his passes were deemed as “successful”. With an average of 7.3 yards per attempt and a 106.5 QB Rating, Jay Cutler was incredibly accurate, and Brandon Marshall did an excellent job of lapping up just about everything thrown at him. Cutler threw 11 passes to his favorite WR, who hauled in nine of them for an excellent 81.8% catch rate. Overall, Cutler averaged just under eight yards per attempt when throwing it to Marshall, and the New York Giants pass defense was just what the doctor ordered for a monster fantasy day from Brandon Marshall. Look for more big numbers next week against the Washington Redskins.