Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz felt that defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh shouldn’t have been penalized for his hit on Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler last Sunday. Suh was flagged for unnecessary roughness, a penalty that gave the Bears a first-and-goal at the seven-yard line, helping them toward a game-winning touchdown.
Suh said on Tuesday that he hit Cutler “on top of the numbers on his back,” but acknowledged that Ed Hochuli called what he thought he saw on the play.
Despite replays supporting Suh’s contention, the NFL agreed rather authoritatively with Hochuli’s call and fined Suh $15,000 on Wednesday for his “unnecessary non-football act.” Suh said he would appeal the fine, however.
“I do intend to appeal it and, to be honest with you, my mentality right now is I owe it to my teammates, the fans and the former players and my coaches to play as hard as I can,” Suh said [Wednesday]. “At that particular point in time and throughout that game, all I was trying to do was play as hard as I can. As Cutler was trying to make a play, I was trying to make a play.”
Fanhouse’s Michael David Smith asks a pertinent question: If replays showed Suh didn’t level Cutler with a dirty hit, why did the league still fine him harshly? Smith’s theory is that it’s all about perception. Suh’s hit looked dirty, so maybe this was a warning to him to cool it (also factoring in his hit on the Browns’ Jake Delhomme during the preseason, for which he was fined $7,500).
Does this mean Suh needs to change the way he plays? Schwartz said he wasn’t sure what he should tell Suh to do in such a situation.
“I think that there’s some things you can learn from, and I think Suh learned a lot from the preseason play on Jake Delhomme,” Schwartz said. “That was a play that happened on his college tape about three or four times, him doing that to quarterbacks, and he never got penalized for it in college and got penalized for it in the preseason and learned how NFL officials are going to protect the quarterbacks. This is a little different situation.”