Thursday, December 5, 2013
The Associated Press
ALLEN PARK, Mich. - Ndamukong Suh's reputation for being a nasty player was born as an NFL rookie.
SAINTS (5-6) at FALCONS (10-1 )
WHEN: 8:20 p.m. Thursday
WHERE: Georgia Dome
TELEVISION: NFL Network
SERIES RECORD: Falcons lead 46-41
LAST MEETING: Saints beat Falcons 31-27, Nov. 11
OUTLOOK: NFC South rivalry kicks off Week 13 with home-flying Falcons the only NFC team that can clinch a playoff spot this week -- with a win here plus a Seattle loss. (Atlanta sews up division title with a win if Tampa Bay also loses.) Saints have owned this series with four consecutive wins and 11 of 13 in the Drew Brees era, including a 31-27 decision Nov. 11. Nevertheless, liking Atlanta to reverse that trend here, though barely. Saddle up Matt Ryan's 30-1 career record when he tops a 100 passer rating, given the continuing generosity of Saints' pass defense.
PREDICTION: Falcons, 34-31
-- Greg Cote, Miami Herald
Suh slammed two quarterbacks to the ground by grabbing their helmets two years ago, and his image became even more notorious last season when he infamously stomped on an opponent.
Just when the Detroit Lions' defensive tackle started to improve his ability to play the game cleanly this season, he had a setback.
But if you think he's contrite, guess again.
The NFL fined Suh $30,000 on Wednesday for unnecessary roughness because he kicked Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub in the groin area. The previous day, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league didn't suspend him because it couldn't reach a judgment on his intent.
Schaub shouldn't hold his breath waiting to hear Suh say he's sorry.
"I was dragged to the ground," Suh said. "A lot of things happen to me.
"It's part of the game."
Suh was on his chest after being taken down by an offensive lineman when his left cleat hit Schaub below the belt in Detroit's loss to Houston last Thursday.
"I just thought it was very Suh-like to give a little extension there at the end," Texans linebacker Connor Barwin said.
For the first time, Suh tried to explain what happened.
"It's a crazy play, it's one that unfortunately happened," he said. "I didn't even realize it until the end of the game, when I see my Twitter feed, I see my friends telling me about it. Other than that, I can't do much more about it. I was being dragged to the ground and my foot inadvertently hit the man.
"But it's over with and I am moving forward and getting ready to play the Colts."
Detroit (4-7) will have Suh on the field when it hosts Indianapolis (7-4) because he dodged another suspension from the NFL. His reputation, though, has taken another hit.
"Certainly the perception in the NFL is he's a very dirty player," Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas said. "The perception among players is that he's not very well liked. The perception among the fans is starting to be the same.
"It's one thing to play hard and have physical hits in the course of a game or be an aggressive player, but it's another thing to take just blatant cheap shots all the time."
CHARGERS: San Diego claimed wide receiver and kick returner Michael Spurlock off waivers from Jacksonville and waived running back Curtis Brinkley.
SEAHAWKS: Seattle could be without defensive end Red Bryant this week at Chicago because of a foot problem.
• Safety Earl Thomas said he was fined $15,000 by the NFL for his roughing the passer penalty against Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill last week.
REDSKINS: Washington claimed linebacker Bryan Kehl off waivers from Kansas City and released linebacker Mario Addison.
CARDINALS: Lyle Sendlein, Arizona's ironman center, is out for the season with a torn left MCL.
MORE NFL players have tested positive this season for amphetamines, which include the ADHD drug Adderall.
The league doesn't identify the substance when a player is suspended for a failed test. But senior vice president Adolpho Birch acknowledged an increase in the number of positives for that type of drug.
Since the start of last season, more than 10 players have publicly blamed their four-game suspensions on taking Adderall without a therapeutic use exemption. Players can apply for an exemption by submitting documentation proving they need a prescription to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
JAGUARS: Jacksonville claimed two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Babin off waivers from Philadelphia.
The Jaguars (2-9) will pay the remaining $1.69 million of Babin's 2012 salary, essentially taking a low-risk look at someone who could significantly upgrade one of the league's worst pass rushes.
VIKINGS: Defensive end Jared Allen was fined $21,000 for a hit on Chicago Bears guard Lance Louis on Sunday.
49ERS: Colin Kaepernick will start at quarterback Sunday at St. Louis.
Coach Jim Harbaugh made the announcement that Kaepernick would go over Alex Smith after the second-year pro led the NFC West-leading Niners (8-2-1) to victories in the past two games, his first two NFL starts.
Kaepernick has completed 48 of 74 passes for 680 yards and three touchdowns with one interception and was sacked six times. He has a 102.3 passer rating.
Smith, the 2005 No. 1 overall draft pick, hardly looked happy on the sideline during Sunday's win over the Saints.