After catching a Pro Bowl record four touchdowns — two less than he had during the entire regular season — to go with 176 receiving yards, Marshall had his wish, driving out of the stadium with a brand-new SUV as his prize. Marshall joined Ricky Williams (2002) and Garo Yepremian (1973) as the third Dolphin to earn the honor.
Sure, Marshall’s impressive statistics can be viewed as meaningless when the two teams combined to score 100 points, but just look at the highlight-reel catches the Dolphins wide receiver made in the game. One TD came when he was able to keep his concentration after the ball sailed through two defenders and bounced off Marshall’s own foot. On his final score, he once again caught the ball in traffic, twisting his body in the back of the end zone and dragging both feet inbounds while being held by the defender.
When he was interviewed mid-game by NBC sideline reporter Alex Flanagan, Marshall wasted no time in crediting the Pro Bowl quarterbacks for making spectacular plays, simultaneously throwing every Dolphins signal caller under the bus.
“Down in Miami, getting a feel for different quarterbacks — had three or four of them throughout my two years there — and the (Pro Bowl) quarterbacks make it easy for me,” he said. “These guys are just putting it in the right places and I’m making the plays, so it’s easy right now.”
If you’re counting, the “three or four” Miami QBs would be Matt Moore, Chad Henne, Tyler Thigpen and Chad Pennington (for a few snaps), as well as J.P. Losman, for good measure. And just in case he wasn’t abundantly clear the first time around, Marshall reiterated that the Pro Bowl quarterbacks were responsible for his MVP performance after the game.
“Since Jay Cutler (with the Denver Broncos), I’ve had a few different quarterbacks, and being in the Pro Bowl, you have these elite quarterbacks you’re playing with,” he said. “It’s all them — they put (the ball) in the right spots and it’s easy for me to make the catch.”
It’s not that Marshall is factually wrong, since the five Dolphins QBs he’s played with were mostly mediocre. But Marshall didn’t exactly help matters, dropping 12 passes (officially) during 2011 season and making countless mistakes on the field. It should also be noted that Moore finished 12th in the NFL in Passer Rating, and that Marshall caught 59 passes for 901 yards and five TDs in Moore’s 12 starts.
It’s obvious that Marshall, as well as owner Stephen Ross and every Dolphins fan, want an upgrade at the QB position. But calling out his teammates on national television with a wide grin — especially since there’s still a chance that Moore could be back next season — isn’t the right time or place to make his point or help the organization in its search. Marshall’s acrobatic catches and record-setting numbers speak much louder than his words for any interested free agents.
Marshall also chose to praise former Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano while referring to Joe Philbin simply as, “the new coach.” Make of that what you will.
“When you look at what Coach Sparano was able to do, the foundation was built. A lot of people don’t give him enough credit, but we have a solid locker room, high character guys and leadership there,” said Marshall when asked about the Dolphins’ future. “The new coach coming in, he’s inheriting a strong team.”
It’ll be interesting to see who that team will add to throw the ball to the never-outspoken MVP-winner.