A frustrating trend has haunted Brandon Marshall since he was a schoolboy: His best performances always seem to come packaged with a loss.
The second-year Broncos receiver had the most impressive game of his pro career Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, catching seven passes for 133 yards. But his big grabs and jaw-dropping jukes couldn't help Denver avoid a 23-14 loss.
``It has been the story of my career as far as Little League and on,'' Marshall said. ``Every time I have a big game, I don't get the win with it. If I could trade it in for a victory, that would be beautiful.''
Broncos fans have been waiting for Marshall to emerge from the day the Broncos selected the 6-foot-4-inch, 230-pound receiver out of Central Florida in the fourth round of last year's draft. But injuries, and a slow absorption of coach Mike Shanahan's system, slowed his development last season.
His biggest contribution was a game-changing 71-yard touchdown catch in Week 11 against Seattle. The Broncos lost that one, 23-20.
But so far this season, it appears Marshall has grown up. On Sunday, there was no doubt he was quarterback Jay Cutler's top target. Paired against No. 2 Jaguars corner Brian Williams, Marshall not only got open consistently, but a good portion of his yards came after the catch.
``They had good 1-on-1 coverage out there, and we took advantage of it,'' Shanahan said. ``He had a good game.''
His 133 yards was one more than the rest of the Broncos managed combined.
Marshall's most impressive play came with the Broncos struggling for momentum down a touchdown in the second quarter. Two plays after catching a 49-yard pass from Cutler to spark the offense, Marshall danced away from four Jaguars' tackles on a 30-yard catch that set up a Denver touchdown.
``It's all about body leverage and body control,'' Marshall said. ``You try to set them up to get the body going the other way. You want to create arm tackles.''
Without Marshall's moves, the Denver offense didn't have much. Running back Travis Henry led the Broncos with 35 yards on 11 carries, and No. 1 receiver Javon Walker managed just two catches for 10 yards.
But being the man was buried under the shadow cast by Sunday's loss.
``There's more to come,'' Marshall said. ``I'm not going anywhere. I'm not fighting for no job. I want to win.''