Quiet start plagues Marshall
SAN FRANCISCO – Brandon Marshall’s history-making season finally hit a snag Monday against the San Francisco 49ers.
Minus close friend and longtime teammate Jay Cutler at quarterback, Marshall quickly regressed into anonymity. Jason Campbell did not target Marshall with a pass until late in the first half, and Marshall could do nothing as the pass sailed high and out of bounds.
Marshall took advantage of a rare opportunity with a leaping touchdown catch against 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver late in the third quarter with the score out of reach. He finished the game with two receptions for 21 yards as the 49ers beat the Bears, 32-7.
The lack of targets was a new and unwelcome development for Marshall, who entered the game with 10 or more targets in five consecutive games. He entered the game with 67 catches for 904 yards and had hoped to become the Bears’ first 1,000-yard receiver since Marty Booker in 2002.
Instead, Campbell absorbed several sacks on passing plays and scattered his pass attempts to targets such as Matt Forte, Devin Hester, Earl Bennett and Evan Rodriguez.
In the doghouse: D.J. Moore’s slide down the depth chart reached a new low before the game when he was listed as one of the Bears’ seven inactive players.
Moore, 25, had lost playing time in recent weeks to veteran defensive back Kelvin Hayden, who signed a one-year contract in April. Hayden helped his cause with a pair of fumble recoveries in Week 9 and three tackles in Week 10, which prompted coaches to trust him as the full-time nickelback alongside Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings in the secondary.
The timing of Moore’s demotion could not be worse for the fourth-year player from Vanderbilt. His contract expires after this season, and he was on pace to earn a big-money deal with eight interceptions and 11 pass break-ups in his previous two seasons.
Day shift: Barring a late change of plans by NBC Sports executives, the Bears will not play any more prime-time games during the regular season.
The Bears’ visit to Candlestick Park marked their third “Monday Night Football” appearance of the season and their fifth prime-time appearance in 10 games. Five of their remaining six games are scheduled for noon kickoffs, with the lone exception being a 3:15 p.m. start when the Bears visit the Arizona Cardinals on Dec. 23.
Bears bits: After a disappointing 37-yard punt on the first series, Adam Podlesh boomed a 53-yard punt that was downed at the 49ers’ 4-yard line. Podlesh was under pressure to produce after the Bears brought in several punters for tryouts last week. … Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice spoke to fans before the game and sprinted across the field to fire up the crowd. Rice wore sneakers to go along with his suit.