Suh tossed, denies stomping

DETROIT — The hardest thing to believe about the Lions' latest Thanksgiving meltdown was the explanation Ndamukong Suh gave himself, his coach and his self-titled nation for an ejection that changed the course of a winnable game.

After Aaron Rodgers' third-and-goal pass to Donald Driver fell incomplete midway through Thursday's third quarter, Suh did three one-handed push-ups on the side of Packers offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith's helmet then stomped on his right arm as he walked away.

Flag. Fine. Maybe more — Albert Haynesworth was suspended five games for a more egregious kicking incident five years ago.

And after it was all done this:

"I'm first and foremost only going to apologize to my teammates, my coaches and my true fans for allowing the refs to have an opportunity to take me out of this game," Suh said. "What I did was remove myself from the situation the best way I felt, with me being held down in the situation that I was in.

"My intentions were not to kick anybody as I did not. Removing myself, as you see I'm walking away from the situation, and with that I apologize to my teammates and my fans and my coaches for putting myself in a position to be misinterpreted and taken out of the game."

John Kuhn scored on a 1-yard run two plays after Suh's penalty, which gave Green Bay an automatic first down, and Matthew Stafford threw interceptions on the Lions' next two series as the Packers blew open a close game to run away with a 27-15 victory.

Stafford finished with three picks and has nine interceptions in his last 10 quarters, and Suh is once again dealing with allegations he's a dirty player.

"I understand, in this world, because of the type of player and type of person I am, all eyes are on me," Suh said. "So why would I do something to jeopardize myself and jeopardize my team first and foremost? So with that, that's why — I don't do bad things and I have no intention to hurt somebody. If I want to hurt him, I'm going to hit his quarterback. As I did throughout that game."

Lions coach Jim Schwartz said Suh gave him a similar explanation as he walked off the field — "He said he was being held in the scrum and was trying to get out of the situation," Schwartz said — but acknowledged that his all-pro defensive tackle has to be more composed.

"Regardless of what our intent is, we can't put ourselves in that position," Schwartz said. "We can't leave any gray area and can't give an official any reason to make that call."

Defensive tackle Corey Williams said he expects Suh to address the situation with teammates on Sunday, and he said he plans talk to Suh about his over-aggressive play on the field.

"Like I said, he's just got to learn how to control his temper," Williams said. "Me as a veteran, I just have to pull him to the side, me and him have a one-on-one talk. And I just have to talk to him and let him know that you're going to have times like this where you're going to get cheap-shotted, guys are going to do dirty stuff to you, you've just got to let it go and play the next play."

Suh's play aside, the Lions committed too many mistakes on both sides of the ball to end a Thanksgiving drought that now stands at eight consecutive years of double-digit defeats.

The Lions largely controlled tempo in the first half, but failed to convert several good scoring opportunities because of penalties (holding calls on Nate Burleson and Brandon Pettigrew stalled drives in the first quarter), missed field goals (Jason Hanson pushed a 47-yarder wide left) and injuries.

Starting running back Kevin Smith, coming off a career-best 140-yard, three-touchdown game, suffered a high ankle sprain in the half after rushing for 36 yards on his first seven carries. The Lions also lost starting defensive backs Louis Delmas and Chris Houston and backup Brandon McDonald to leg injuries.

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