It’s one thing to be considered a tough, physical or hard-nosed player. It’s quite another to be considered dirty. But after Ndamukong Suh's performance Thursday at Ford Field during the Packers’ 27-15 win, I’m afraid it’s going to be hard for anyone to think anything differently of the Lions defensive tackle.
The question won’t be if the NFL will suspend Suh, but when — and for how many games.
Suh was ejected in the third quarter with a little more than nine minutes remaining and the Lions trailing 7-0. The Packers were facing a third-and-goal from the Detroit 3-yard line, and after Aaron Rodgers threw an incomplete pass, Suh — who had been scuffling with Green Bay’s Evan Dietrich-Smith during the play — got up from the ground and stomped on Deitrich-Smith’s arm.
That came after Suh had jammed Deitrich-Smith’s helmeted head to the ground three times before getting up.
Not only was it dumb, but I think the game turned on that one play. Instead of looking at a field goal, the Packers got a first-and-goal from the 1-yard line. They scored a couple of plays later to make it 14-0.
On the Lions’ next series, quarterback Matthew Stafford was intercepted, and one play later, Rodgers threw a touchdown pass to James Jones to make it 21-0. Game over.
Suh’s not dirty, he’s filthy.
This guy has a history. An ugly one at that. Just look at the facts:
Since coming into the league in 2010, Suh has committed nine personal fouls, more than any other player in the NFL.
Before the Packers game, Suh had already been fined more than $42,000 for three personal fouls this season. With his total now up to four, he’ll probably be suspended without pay.
A personal foul is one thing, but what Suh did Thursday was as a non-football act. When a player hits another player with a late hit or commits a helmet-to-helmet hit, those are considered football plays. Stomping on somebody or spitting on someone — those are considered premeditated acts.
In 2006, the league suspended Albert Haynesworth when he was with Tennessee for five games — the longest-ever punishment in the NFL for on-field behavior — for stepping on the head of Dallas center Andre Gurode.
Suh met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell recently to discuss his on-field play and afterward said he had a better understanding of how to play the game within the rules.
I would say he needs another lesson — or two. Maybe three.
And to make matters worse, after the game Thursday, Suh said he was trying to regain his balance while pushing Dietrich-Smith’s head to the turf and then stomping on his arm.
Who knew Suh was a comedian?
The good news is he’ll probably have a lot more time to work on his routine during his suspension.
Let’s take a look at some of the other interesting calls from Thursday’s games:
THE GAME: San Francisco at Baltimore
THE SITUATION: The 49ers had the ball, second-and-five at the San Francisco 25-yard line with 13:55 left in the second quarter. The score was tied 3-3.
THE PLAY: San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith completed a 75-yard pass to Ted Ginn for a touchdown. The play was nullified when Frank Gore was called for a chop block on the Ravens' Bernard Pollard.
MY TAKE: Let's cite the rule on chop blocks. Rule 12, Section 2, Article 16 (4) is called a "reverse chop block on pass plays." The rule states "on a forward pass play, A1 blocks a defensive player in the in the area of the thigh or lower, and A2 (other blocker) simultaneously or immediate after the block by A1, engages the defensive player high." That’s what happened here. It did not appear to be a block that put Pollard in danger, but it is the rule and it was correctly called. Although it is a bit technical, it's identical to the chop block that was called earlier in the day during the Packers-Lions game on FOX.
THE GAME: San Francisco at Baltimore
THE SITUATION: The 49ers had the ball, fourth-and 21 from the San Francisco 9-yard line with 12:03 left in the second quarter. The score was tied 3-3.
THE PLAY: San Francisco’s Andy Lee punted the ball 57 yards to the Baltimore 34-yard line. Lardarius Webb caught the ball and returned it 11 yards to the Ravens’ 45-yard line. Baltimore’s Kris Wilson was called for an illegal block on the return and the Ravens were penalized and the ball moved back to the 35-yard line.
MY TAKE: In my opinion, this was not a block in the back. No. 87 came from the side and made contact on the left side of the defender. Sometimes these look deceiving on the field and you would hope that other members of the crew would see it from another angle and convince the calling official to pick up his flag. That obviously didn't happen here, but it should have. That's why there are seven officials, with in some cases, have several different views. The league does encourage crew conferences so they can hopefully avoid these mistakes.
THE GAME: Green Bay at Detroit
THE SITUATION: The Packers had the ball, third-and-1 at the Green Bay 24-yard line with 9 minutes, 50 seconds left in the second quarter. There was no score.
THE PLAY: Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ pass to James Jones was incomplete but Eric Wright was called for pass interference, giving the Packers a first down on the Green Bay 32-yard-line.
MY TAKE: I can’t believe what I saw on this play. Watching it live from the press box, I originally believed that pass interference was the right call; the defender was grabbing both shoulders of the receiver. But after seeing the FOX replay, I was stunned that they called the penalty on Wright because there was nothing there that would be considered pass interference. My first reaction was that maybe the referee announced the wrong number. But, Wright was defending Jones, who was the middle receiver in a trip formation. That would make Jones the responsibility of the line judge and he is the one that threw the flag. I can’t wait to look at the play again, just to see if the foul might have been somewhere else (though I am inclined to doubt it). It appears to be an incorrect call.
THE GAME: Green Bay at Detroit
THE SITUATION: The Packers had the ball, first-and-10 from the Detroit 13-yard line with 5:33 left in the second quarter. There was no score.
THE PLAY: Rodgers’ pass to Greg Jennings was incomplete, but this time Brandon McDonald was called for pass interference, giving the Packers a first-and-goal at the Detroit 1.
MY TAKE: There were 19 accepted penalties in this game, and I saw a lot of others that were let go. While the aforementioned penalty on Wright was big as it extended that drive and it would have been fourth down had that penalty not been called, this one on McDonald put the ball on the 1. Though McDonald was not playing the ball, it first appeared as though there was not enough contact for a pass-interference call. However, after looking at the replay, McDonald first grabbed Jennings’ jersey as he released from the line of scrimmage (which I do not believe was a penalty), then grabbed and stretched Jennings’ jersey again, this time with the ball in the air. The field judge was in perfect position to see this. So he made what turned out to be a routine call. And two plays later, Jennings had a touchdown.