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New York Giants wide receiver Brandon Marshall arrived via free agency with much fanfare.
It’s not every day a team acquires a receiver with 943 receptions for 12,088 yards and 82 touchdowns. Marshall is the only player in NFL history to make the Pro Bowl for four different teams. He was supposed to take some of the pressure of Odell Beckham Jr. and give Eli Manning a red zone target the Giants haven’t had since Plaxico Burress.
Marshall’s red zone ability was on display in the Giants’ 24-10 loss to the Detroit Lions. His 17-yard catch put the Giants at the Lions 1 before penalties and clock management pushed the Giants back. Unfortunately for Marshall, he will be best remembered for the catch he didn’t make.
Early in the fourth quarter, Manning heaved a perfect pass to Marshall, who was at least five yards ahead of the nearest defender. It appeared as if Marshall had the pass, which would have kept a potential game-tying drive going. If only it were that simple.
Marshall lost the ball. Two plays later, the Giants punted and Lions running back Jamal Agnew returned it 88 yards for a touchdown that put the game away for Detroit.
After the game, Marshall offered no excuses for missing that catch.
“That was the moment. That was the biggest play of the game. I let my team down. I got an opportunity to make a big play and change the momentum and I lost it,” Marshall said. “It was a perfect pass. I beat the guy really bad at the line of scrimmage, knew the ball was coming, saw the ball, at the last second lost it in the light and then I picked it back up and just dropped it.
“Just dropped it. Let the team down. That can’t happen. When you get an opportunity in a big game like this, in that situation where you’re down and you got an opportunity to go down and score and tie up the game, that can’t happen.”
Marshall has had trouble inserting himself into the Giants’ offense. He has two receptions for 27 yards in the Giants’ first two games, both losses. Against the Lions, his dropped pass changed the momentum of the game and Detroit made the Giants pay for it.
“If I make that play, I’m confident that we go down and score, and that doesn’t happen and that’s on me,” Marshall said. “Sometimes you get one or two opportunities in a game and it comes down to one or two plays. That was probably the biggest play of the entire game.”
Marshall spent the summer working with Manning to gain a better understanding of the Giants’ offense. He insisted there’s no tension between quarterback and receiver.
“We are not in marital counseling, so that’s good. Our relationship is great. It’s not rocky,” Marshall said. “Usually they say the first two, three years of marriage is tough, but so far so good. We are still in that honeymoon phase, so that’s good.”
The honeymoon may be over soon if Marshall continues to miss catches like the one that could have changed the game Monday night.
It is still way too early to determine if the Giants made a mistake signing Marshall. There are still 14 games remaining on the schedule and he still has time to turn it around. But there is no denying Brandon Marshall is off to an inauspicious start.
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