November 28, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Chris McCosky

Chris McCosky's Four Downs: Lions' Ndamukong Suh redirects anger to make his two points

First down

Ndamukong Suh was angry, but not for the reasons you might have thought.

Suh had a monster game — four tackles, a sack and a safety, one tackle for loss, two quarterback hits, one pass deflection and no personal fouls. When asked if derogatory comments from Packers guard Josh Sitton — who called the Lions defensive linemen dirtbags and scumbags — fired him up, he said no, they were just words.

What got him the most riled up Thursday was the play prior to his first career safety, which came in the third quarter. He felt like he was held on a play in which Devin Taylor sacked quarterback Matt Flynn.

“I was a little upset from the play before,” he said. “I wanted to make a statement.”

His statement was this: He blew through the double team of center T.J. Lang and guard Marshall Newhouse. He got past them so quickly they barely hit him. And he had engulfed Flynn in the end zone before the Packers quarterback could contemplate escaping.

“Things happen,” Suh said. “No disrespect to Gene (Steratore, referee). He has a million things he’s looking at. I just have to continue to play and that’s what I did.”

All things considered, the the defensive linemen were mostly quiet afterwards about Sitton’s comments. But coach Jim Schwartz brought them up at the team meeting Wednesday night.

“I don’t know if you take it personally, but you sure as heck hear it,” quarterback Matthew Stafford said. “It’s a fine line of making sure it motivates you and making sure you don’t step over the bounds on the field. Those guys are motivated enough. This is the NFL. You don’t need any extra motivation.”

Still, the defensive linemen walked onto the field as a group during pregame introductions. It was clear they were on a mission.

“That was (Andre) Fluellen’s idea,” Suh said. “Just a collective defensive line thing, just make sure we stick together. Us sticking together is going to get us far in this game.”

Second down

Add DeAndre Levy to the growing list of defensive players frustrated by the ever-shrinking strike zone in the NFL.

“It’s a joke, man,” said Levy. “The NFL’s becoming a joke with some of these calls.”

Levy, who intercepted his team- and personal-best sixth pass, was flagged for unnecessary roughness for a hit on tight end Ryan Taylor in the third quarter. He and linebacker Stephen Tulloch sandwiched him and Levy got him from behind.

“I mean, it is what it is right now,” Levy said. “Hopefully they review it and see that it was a clean hit. I felt like it was. I didn’t see it on the screen, so we’ll see.”

It appeared Levy’s helmet may have grazed Taylor’s helmet. Taylor was tested for a possible concussion and did not return to the game.

Levy didn’t let the call spoil his day, though.

“It feels good,” he said. “Growing up in Wisconsin, I kind of especially despise them. I know the effect it’ll have back home with some of the Packer fans. It’s a little extra special for me.”

He’s not fazed that he’s leading the NFL in interceptions (he actually dropped another chance Thursday).

“I didn’t really think about it yet,” he said. “It’s a critical stretch for us. Hopefully it won’t be in vain and we can finish things out the right way and get to the playoffs.

“You just want to be in the right position. I’m glad they keep throwing them my way. Hopefully, I can continue to make plays on the ball.”

Third down

Only Dominic Raiola knew what turkey dinner would taste like on Thanksgiving Day after a win.

“I am sure it’s going to taste a lot better,” Stafford said after snapping the nine-year holiday drought.

Schwartz made re-claiming control of the Thanksgiving Day game one of his priorities when he was hired five years ago. He’s finally made good on it.

“It’s an important game for us,” he said. “The tradition that’s involved, short week and everything that goes into it — it’s big. It’s big for us and for this city. Just waking up and seeing so many people downtown and that snow coming down — it was sort of a magical scene.

“The Christmas tree was up in the square downtown. People appreciate Detroit and the tradition that goes into it and we haven’t played well enough on Thanksgiving lately. This goes a long way into putting us on the right track.”

Raiola was happiest for the Ford Family.

Those guys, they put not only their money, but their heart and their soul into this thing,” he said. “To do that for the people that take care of us, the hand that feeds us, that’s gratifying.”

Fourth down

Schwartz did have a little fun with some of the social media madness that went on during the week. He was asked if he contemplated pulling Reggie Bush after his early fumble.

“We took a Twitter poll to find out if we should give him the ball and the Twitter audience said to stick with him, so we did,” he said.

He continued in a more serious tone.

“You can’t play scared,” he said. “A lot of people made fun of me a couple of weeks ago for saying we don’t play scared and we don’t coach scared. I think that was another sign of that. We weren’t scared to give him the ball.”

Chris McCosky on Twitter @cmccosky

Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh gets Packers quarterback Matt Flynn into his clutches in the end zone for a safety in the third quarter. / Daniel Mears / Detroit News
More Chris McCosky