Suh only has self to blame for penalty against Cutler, Bears

DETROIT - AUGUST 28: Ndamukong Suh  of the Detroit Lions looks on prior to playing the Cleveland Browns in a preseason game on August 28, 2010 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Some Lions fans are missing the point regarding Ndamukong Suh’s unnecessary roughness penalty in the fourth quarter of the Bears’ 24-20 win over the Lions on Sunday.

Regardless of whether or not he hit Jay Cutler in the head or did something to deserve the penalty doesn’t really matter. What matters is that there were other ways to bring Cutler down besides breaking out a forearm shiver and Suh decided to go MMA anyway.

For those that missed the play, the Bears were down 20-17 midway through the fourth quarter and driving inside the red zone. Cutler scrambled for an 8-yard gain and as he was falling to the ground, Suh drove his forearm into Cutler’s back and may have grazed his head. (I say “may have” because it depends on who you root for. It’s either clear that Suh hit Cutler in the head or it’s clear that he just hit Cutler’s upper back. Ah, fans.)

Suh was flagged 15 yards for unnecessary roughness on the play, which gave the Bears a first-and-goal at Detroit’s 7-yard line. They scored on the next play and eventually went on to win, 24-20.

Following the game, Suh said: “I was just going out there to make a play, get the ball out. We were in a tight situation in the red zone. We have to stop them some way from getting a touchdown. Obviously he broke a tackle. I had a great angle to make a play and get the ball out, and that’s what I went after.”

Okay, but there are other ways to try and knock the ball out – ways that won’t draw a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty. He could have grabbed Cutler with one arm and tried to strip the ball with his free hand. He could have given Cutler a bear hug (no pun intended) and tried to punch the ball out that way. He could have read Cutler his favorite bedtime story and hoped that the quarterback let go of the ball while falling asleep.

All good options (well, that last one is debatable), none of which involves throwing a forearm to, or around the back of Cutler’s head.

Lion fans feel they have a gripe and maybe they do. But the bottom line is that the play was completely avoidable on Suh’s part.

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