We've been talking all week about Detroit Lions DT Ndamukong Suh and his impact on the game. While the Chiefs key to the game is a running back or a quarterback, the Lions key to the game is this 300-pound defensive tackle playing in the middle of the field.
He's developing a bit of reputation around the league as a dirty player and has been getting fined by the league to prove it, including a big one -- $20,000 -- in the preseason. SB Nation's Pride Of Detroit told me this week a little bit about Suh and his history of making life miserable for quarterbacks.
Suh first garnered attention for a fierce hit on a quarterback during the 2010 preseason. He grabbed a hold of Jake Delhomme's facemask and proceeded to slam him down by the head. He was fined for the hit, which came as no surprise. However, it was very surprising when Suh was fined for his hit on Jay Cutler during the 2010 regular season. Suh shoved Cutler down from behind after Cutler took off and scrambled. You would think Cutler would be fair game after he decided to run with the ball, but the NFL viewed things differently and fined Suh for what was really nothing more than a vicious shove. There was nothing dirty about the play, but that didn't matter to the NFL.
Frankly, Suh's reputation could help the Chiefs. He's not going to get the benefit of the doubt if he busts through the offensive line and throws QB Matt Cassel like a rag doll.
More from Pride of Detroit:
This year, the hit from Suh that generated headlines was in the preseason when he slammed Andy Dalton to the turf after a pass had already been thrown. The play was certainly bad enough to draw a flag, but the $20,000 fine that was handed out the following week seemed to be based on Suh's reputation more than anything. I suppose that feeds into Suh's desire for opposing quarterbacks to fear him, but it is a bit of a concern going forward that even clean hits by Suh will result in flags being thrown.