"Everyone on the offense should be held accountable, even if it means jobs."
That was how Brandon Marshall started his postgame news conference.
He ended it just over a minute later when he walked out, after his eyes welled up and he took several long pauses, after saying the losing was wearing on him.
“I love this game; I'm very passionate about this game, and right now it's affecting me way too much.
“I'm trying my all to do my job. So … that's it.”
It's a marriage that was great through training camp and all nine weeks of the 7-1 start. He's 2 yards short of the best single season ever for a Bears receiver.
But Sunday, it became something else.
The Bears lost, lost their hold on deciding their own destiny, and Marshall broke down afterward.
It's good that he cares so much.
It's scary, knowing what he's told us about his mental illness, that it has turned so sour. We can all hope that – regardless what happens in the Bears' final two games – it was just an emotional moment when he got upset, walked away, and was then able to put into perspective.
Professional sports and new media after games has a long history of being awkward.
Players play a full game – they win or they lose – and then they're obligated to stick around and talk about it. Some questions are good. Many others are not.
And it absolutely has to be frustrating at points for everyone with the emotions of what finished on the field (or court) minutes before.
Jay Cutler has had run-ins and played the blame game, but now he's learned. He wouldn't discuss details of his interception intended for Devin Hester and whose fault it was. He also wouldn't discuss Alshon Jeffery's three key offensive pass interference calls.
“I don't think anyone wants to get fined,” he said.
Marshall, however, had a moment. And he let his emotions get the best of him, though this was far from being a Tony Stewart, Kenny Rogers or Dennis Rodman incident.
Marshall was hurting from the loss. He nearly broke down. And he walked away.
With another player, it might have been brushed off. Because it was Marshall, it won't be.
There were subtle changes in his postgame routine last week.
Normally, he goes behind the podium in front of the TV cameras after Lovie Smith and Jay Cutler. In Minneapolis, he bowed out and talked in front of his locker.
From all accounts, he was still affable. This time, he wasn't.
“What I've got to do is to try my best to keep it together and not let this affect me, because it's starting to affect me more than it should,” Marshall said.
The best thing Marshall could have done at that point was walk out of the room. That's what he did.
He recognized what was happening. He acted. He removed himself.
For his part, Marshall had a decent statistical day. He caught a touchdown, had 56 yards and caught six passes.
In terms from his happier days, it was more a shot glass than a wheelbarrow.
But Sunday there were no jokes. He was upset. And he showed another side.
He interrupted questions. He didn't smile. And his odd behavior became a story.
“It's very frustrating. You can see it on my face right now,” Marshall said. “Self explanatory.”
He paused, then “Next question.”
What he was mad about was the loss. The lack of offense, as the Bears again could manage just one touchdown. And the lack of flow all around on that side of the ball.
“It's been the same thing all year,” Marshall said. “The same way each week. We need to be held accountable.”
There were four questions asked. Marshall said “accountable” four times.
And while his postgame demeanor was odd, Marshall held himself accountable too. He recognized how upset he was, he removed himself from the situation and hopefully he cooled down.
That part – if nothing else – is progress.
• Northwest Herald sports editor Jon Styf can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JonStyf.