DETROIT -- If you don't want the world to think you're a dirty player, you might not want to get caught kicking an opponent and grinding his head into the ground.
That's what officials caught Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh with just under 10 minutes remaining here in the third quarter. Referee Terry McAulay ejected Suh from the game, and neither Suh nor the Lions should have a single complaint.
The replay showed Suh flipping Packers guard Evan Dietrich-Smith, a reserve playing for injured starter Josh Sitton. Once on top of him, Suh used his right arm to push Dietrich-Smith's head into the turf three times. As officials and players pulled Suh up, he kicked several times with his right foot and made contact once with Dietrich-Smith's arm.
In what surely will be a highly-rated game on national television, Suh just lost forever his battle to be viewed as a physical player who stops short of being dirty. There is no explaining what he did, and the entire nation just got to see it. That was a dirty play with no intent other than to hurt Dietrich-Smith. The vast majority of his controversial plays haven't qualified as such in my mind. But today's was too blatant and too visible to dispute.
In many ways, this game was about how far the Lions would go and whether the Packers would keep their poise. We're quickly finding the answer. They're up 14-0 midway through the third quarter.