Despite clearly trying to intentionally injury Aaron Rodgers, the Detroit Lions won’t have to do with Ndamukong Suh in the playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys, as his one-game suspension has been removed, instead his appeal falling on the right set of ears, settling to punish him with just a fine.
It’s hard to understand the logic behind yet another idiotic decision by the NFL office. A repeat offender when it comes to violence on the field against other players, Ndamukong Suh gets a fine of $70,000 instead of the original punishment which was a one-game suspension. Maybe the league didn’t want to influence the outcome of a playoff game or felt sorry for the Lions already missing one of their defensive tackles.
Yet in a league that’s all about sending messages against various things, there always seems to be place for compassion and leniency when it comes to people trying to hurt others. Suh doesn’t get called out for hard hits which are always a debatable issue. This is a guy who stepped on an opposing quarterback and then stepped on him again. The funny thing? He’s done it before, yet the new formula for the league in calculating what a repeat offender is makes this almost like a first time for Suh. He went 32 games (including preseason) without stepping on or chop blocking anyone, so he gets away with it.
Maybe it was Suh appearing in New York before Ted Cottrell, the league’s appeal officer, that made the difference. It’s as if everyone knows it’s wrong, it was on purpose and it was done in order to hurt and hopefully injure Aaron Rodgers. But because the league has its weird rules and regulations to counter common sense, exactly like in the Ray Rice case, Suh gets to change his judgement just by speaking to the man in charge of his “sentencing” although the only thing necessary is to watch the pictures and video.
For the Lions and also the Cowboys, this is big news. There’s a big difference between how the Lions perform with Suh in their defensive line and without him. They allow just 2.8 yards per rush compared to 4.12 without him, sack a quarterback on 7.4% of snaps compared to 2.7% without him and put pressure on a quarterback on 30.1% of his dropbacks when Suh is in the defensive line compared to just 19.8% when he isn’t playing.
With Nick Fairley also out of the game (unless Jim Caldwell is doing some media trickery), the presence of Suh, the second-most penalized defensive lineman since 2010 with 38 separate incidents which have taken over $200,000 from his bank account, is vital for the Lions, going into AT&T stadium with a mediocre 4-4 record on the road, although the Cowboys themselves haven’t been all that impressive when playing at home this season.