If for some reason you live on a different planet and didn’t see the “Thanksgiving Day Stomp” by Ndamukong Suh of my beloved Detroit Lions then you missed perhaps the play that could cost the Lions a playoff spot. With 9 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, the Packers were facing a 3rd and goal from the Lions 3 yard line. After Aaron Rodgers’ pass fell incomplete, a scuffle broke out ar0und the line of scrimmage. After shoving Evan Dietrich-Smith’s head into the ground three times, Suh stood up and delivered a kick to his midsection while Dietrich-Smith was still on the ground. It was an unnecessary and dirty penalty that proved costly in more then one way.
Lets break this down shall we?
First off, the penalty cost the Lions 4 points. Although the final score might not have indicated it, this game was very close for about the first 45 minutes. As I mentioned earlier, the Lions stopped Green Bay on the 3 yard line on 3rd down before the penalty occurred. If Suh keeps his head, the Packers would have been limited to a Mason Crosby field goal and would only have been up 10-0 with just over a quarter and a half to play. The penalty gave Green Bay an automatic first down, and they scored a touchdown on the very next play. The penalty also made momentum swing 180 degrees. After the stop, the crowd was back into it, and finally there was some life and something for the Lions to build on. The penalty took the wind out of Detroit’s sail.
Now the aftermath: according to some of ESPN’s sources, Suh is facing at least a 2-game ban. The Lions are 7-4 and for the first time since Barry Sanders was around, Detroit is in the conversation when talking about the NFC wild card. The Lions are 9th in total defense, and Suh is the presence in the middle of the line that brings it all together. After drafting Nick Fairley in the first round of the draft this year, Detroit was expected to have one of the scariest defensive lines in the league, and they haven’t disappointed. With Suh out of the lineup for the next two games, teams will not be afraid to run the ball up the middle against them, something that no team has been able to do all year. Did I mention that Detroit plays at New Orleans next week? They’d have their hands full even if Suh was available.
The most pathetic thing about the whole thing is the post game comments that Suh made. You screwed up Ndamukong, now apologize and hopefully the league shows you some mercy. I’ve posted the interview here:
“What I did was remove myself from the situation the best way I felt,” said Suh, and apparently his intention wasn’t to kick anybody. Are you kidding me? He acts like people haven’t seen the replay. It sickens me that this guy is representing my city. Getting to put on the blue and silver and rep the Detroit name is an absolute privilege, and it is quite frustrating to hear this guy ramble about nonsense. You want to apologize to your true fans? You act like there is a nation of people that jumped on the Suh bandwagon when you got drafted. If anything you have been making people hate you ever since you entered the league.
He did apologize though… through a statement on his facebook page. Suh is the prime example of someone that just doesn’t get it.
The plain and simple fact is that Suh needs to grow up and realize how crucial he is to not only the team, but to the city. Lions fans have sat through the last decade praying for a playoff team. We went through an 0-16 season, perhaps three of the worst first round draft picks in history (Charles Rogers, Joey Harrington, and Mike Williams), and a promise from John Kitna that he couldn’t keep. The heart of the city lies in it’s sports teams. Detroit was one of the cities hit hardest by the recession, and it hasn’t really recovered. The city smells like depression. This season, the city has actually been able to enjoy motor city football for the first time in what feels like forever. Citizens look at the situation as a metaphor for the city as a whole: If the Lions can go from 0-16 to a playoff team in just a few years, why can’t the city rise out of this recession and once again become a crucial piece of domestic production? We finally have some hope, and if guys like Matt Stafford, Jahvid Best, and Ndamukong Suh don’t want to except the fact that they aren’t just football players in the city of Detroit, then ask to be traded.
At 7-4 the next two games are crucial to whether or not the Lions will be able to take the wild card this year, and unfortunately we will not have access to our biggest defensive weapon. Hopefully this matures him a little bit… but I’m not so hopeful, we’re pretty used to disappointment.