Detroit’s Ndamukong Suh is rarely speechless, but he was Sunday night.
The tough Lions defensive tackle fought back tears after Dallas rallied to top Detroit 24-20 in an NFC wild-card game at AT&T Stadium.
Suh briefly left the interview room podium, but he returned still emotional about the loss.
“I apologize, I’m just speechless,” Suh said. “I feel like we played as hard as we could. We put it all out there. I just didn’t expect this outcome. It’s sickening.”
His teammates were just as sickened about a controversial no-call midway through the fourth quarter.
Facing a third-and-1, Matthew Stafford threw an incomplete pass to Brandon Pettigrew. Initially, a pass interference flag was thrown on Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens before it was later picked up.
The Lions followed with a 10-yard punt, then the Cowboys started their game-winning drive. Holding penalties by Don Carey and Dominic Raiola, and a Jason Witten 21-yard catch on fourth-and-6 extended the 11-play drive. Dallas took its first lead of the game at 24-20 with 2:32 left in the game.
“Penalties,” linebacker Tahir Whitehead said. “That was our Achilles heel the last couple games. It hurt us in the second half.”
When Lions coach Jim Caldwell asked for an explanation about the no-call, he said it was “not good enough. I’m going to leave it at that.”
“I’m not going to sit up here and act like that was the call that made the difference in the game. We still had our chances.”
Referee Pete Morelli talked more about the play after the game.
“The back judge threw his flag for defensive pass interference,” he said. “We got other information from another official [the head linesman] from another angle that thought the contact was minimal and didn’t warrant pass interference. He thought it was face guarding.”
Stafford thought it was a good call before it was overturned.
“I thought it was ridiculous, to be honest,” Pettigrew added. “But there’s nothing I can do about it. He ran threw me, pretty much, trying to get back to the ball. To me, it was obvious.”
Suh didn’t address his future with the Lions after the game, but he might have played his last game with them.
The Lions reportedly want Suh back, but they’re letting him test free agency first.
Suh finished with three tackles and two back-to-back sacks in the fourth quarter, which forced Dan Bailey to kick a 51-yard field goal.
“He was as disruptive as he normally is,” Caldwell said.
Suh was instrumental in Detroit’s early pass rush against Tony Romo. Romo was sacked a season-high six times, including three in the first half.
Suh was originally suspended for Sunday’s game after stepping on Aaron Rodgers’ leg last week in a 30-20 loss to Green Bay, but it was overturned.