Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh talks about his teammates this season. Josh Katzenstein / Detroit News
Arlington, Texas — Ndamukong Suh is one of the most-feared players in the NFL, both for his play and his infractions. But after the Lions' 24-20 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, he showed that even the biggest and baddest men cry.
Suh, the Lions' All-Pro defensive, took the podium for his post-game interview with sore eyes, and after about 90 seconds fighting tears, he exited as he was overcome by emotion.
"Honestly, I just didn't expect this," he said, trying to explain what was going through his head. "That's what it comes down to."
Suh returned to the podium about a minute later and answered questions professionally, but his pain was evident. He'd just finished a dominant effort against the Cowboys with two sacks -- on back-to-back plays -- and two tackles for loss, and even though the Lions' defense stymied the high-powered offense for much of the game, Dallas will move on to the divisional round of the playoffs.
"I'm speechless," Suh said. "We played very, very hard. I think this defense put it all out there. This team put it all out there, and like I said, I didn't expect this outcome.
Before Suh addressed the media, he requested all questions pertain to the game and not his future. Suh is set to become one of the few NFL stars to hit the open market in his prime, and even though he expressed nothing but pleasure with this season in Detroit, he declined to discuss his future.
"I'm sorry, I can't answer that," he said.
He gladly answered a question about what this season was like playing with his defensive line mates.
"My group is a hell of a group," he said. "The defensive line is phenomenal, man. This is the closest group I've ever had in five years, and those dudes, each and every single week, we push ourselves. We challenge each other every single week in practice, and it's a lot of fun.
"It's a lot of fun with those dudes. Every single week C.J. (Mosley), Nick (Fairley), (Jason Jones) and Devin (Taylor) and Ziggy (Ansah), man, it's a competition every single day, and you want to win."
Suh won the competition Sunday, but his fellow defensive lineman gave him plenty of support. Ansah had a sack, a tackle for loss and four quarterback hits. Jones had three tackles, including one with his right arm on DeMarco Murray that temporarily saved a touchdown. End Darryl Tapp added a sack and strip.
But Suh was the one in the backfield seemingly every play.
"He played phenomenal, like he always does," defensive tackle Andre Fluellen said. "He played absolutely like Suh plays. He played a great game."
The Lions appeared to be in control of the game as they led until the Cowboys scored the game-winning touchdown with 2:32 remaining. And Suh had trouble coming to grips with missing so closely his first playoff win.
"We had a hell of a week of practice, and this just doesn't make sense," he said. "It doesn't make sense, but it's part of life."