Marshall Wins 2012 Pro Bowl MVP With Record-Setting Game

Posted Jan 29, 2012

Leave it to a Miami Dolphins player to steal the spotlight at the 2012 Pro Bowl.


Wide receiver Brandon Marshall turned four of his six receptions for the AFC – from three different quarterbacks – into touchdowns, including one that will be replayed on highlight reels for years to come. In the process, Marshall set a new Pro Bowl record for touchdown catches and total touchdowns in a single game and easily surpassed his combined receiving yardage total from his first two Pro Bowl appearances (176-67). It came as no surprise that he walked away with MVP honors in a 59-41 AFC victory, joining kicker Garo Yepremian (1974) and running back Ricky Williams (2003) as the only Dolphins to do so.

“Sometimes the ball just bounces the right way for you,” Marshall told after the game. “Unfortunately it didn’t happen that often for me during the season. I scored four touchdowns here in one game and during the season I scored six in 16 so hopefully next year we can build off of this and go into the offseason saying great things. It got personal out there and it meant a lot to us to get the win. We did it and that’s AFC football for you.”

Jacksonville’s Jimmy Smith caught three touchdown passes in the 2000 Pro Bowl, which was the previous record, and Marshall’s 176 receiving yards are second only to Randy Moss’ 212, also in the 2000 Pro Bowl for the NFC. Only five other former Dolphins have scored touchdowns in the Pro Bowl before today – wide receiver Chris Chambers (2006), Williams with two in 2003, wide receiver Mark Clayton in 1991, tight end Ferrell Edmunds in 1989 and Hall-of-Fame wide receiver Paul Warfield in 1974.

With his team trailing the NFC by a 35-31 score late in the third quarter, Marshall beat Chicago Bears cornerback Corey Graham for the second time in a row with the same double move down the right sideline. Cincinnati Bengals rookie quarterback Andy Dalton launched a 47-yard pass in Marshall’s direction and as Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas collided with Graham at the goal line the ball hit Marshall’s leg and he kicked it up into his arms for the spectacular score. That gave the AFC a 38-35 lead and they never looked back from there.

Just for added measure, Marshall made an acrobatic 3-yard touchdown catch with 8:25 left in the game on a fade in the right corner from Dalton. Even as he was being interfered with by Arizona Cardinals rookie cornerback Patrick Peterson, Marshall managed to secure the ball in his hands and drag both of his feet to stay inbounds for the score.

“Down in Miami getting a feel for different quarterbacks with having three or four throughout my two years there, the quarterbacks make it easy for me,” Marshall told the NFL Network’s Alex Flanagan on the sideline late in the game. “These guys just put it in the right places for me to make the plays. It’s awesome and this is my playoff and I approached it as such so it’s fun. I came in with the goal of trying to get MVP. I honestly texted my family and friends and said, ‘Hey, I’m going for MVP.’ Because you never know when you’re going to get back and I’m going to give the (GMC truck) to my mom, Diane.”

Marshall started for the AFC and was targeted on the opening possession by Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on a 3rd-and-4. Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson got his hand in there just as the ball arrived to break it up.

But the next time the ball came his direction Marshall made it count as he hauled in a 74-year touchdown pass from Roethlisberger with 2:35 left in the first quarter to tie the game at 14-14 after the NFC had jumped out to a 14-0 lead on two Aaron Rodgers-to-Larry Fitzgerald touchdown passes. He got behind Seattle Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner down the right sideline by making a subtle stutter-step move and then taking off.

Mike Mayock of the NFL Network remarked, “Brandon Marshall in my opinion can be as good as he wants to be. He’s a big, physical, fast guy with great hands and he runs away from everybody.”

Marshall wasn’t finished as he found the end zone again with 5:22 left in the first half, this time on a 29-yard reception from San Diego Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers. He completely faked out Graham with a double move, getting Graham to bite on the out and running free into the end zone. In Graham’s defense, he was selected as a special teams player for the NFC and not as a cornerback.

Dolphins nose tackle Paul Soliai got to share in the celebration with his teammate as he appeared in the first Pro Bowl of his five-year career. He was named last week as a late replacement for Baltimore Ravens nose tackle Haloti Ngata.

“It was a great time and when Brandon got his first touchdown we thought he might have a chance to get MVP so I’m ecstatic,” Soliai said. “I wish during the game we could have gone a little bit harder but there were all of these different rules. I still had a great time.”

Marshall no doubt had the best time when it was all said and done as he got to hoist the MVP story and get handed the keys to that brand new GMC truck.

“It’s a blessing to be voted in by your peers across the league and it’s one that I’m not taking for granted,” said Marshall, who had one touchdown in each of the four quarters. “Sometimes you’ve got to speak it into existence and this week that was a goal of mine and my trainer, Matt Gates, to come out and try to get this MVP. I wanted to be up there with some of those guys like Jerry Rice, Larry Fitzgerald and Randy Moss so I’m glad it happened.”
Game Pass: Miami Dolphins