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Tim Twentyman and Mike O'Hara: The highs and lows of Week 1

Posted Sep 11, 2013

Tim Twentyman and Mike O'Hara discuss a sufficient penalty for Ndamukong Suh's illegal block and how many total yards Reggie Bush could end up with this year

Week 1 had highs and lows for the Lions.

The highs: beating the Vikings, a breakout game by Reggie Bush and the dominance of the defensive line.

The lows: penalties and the controversy over Ndamukong Suh’s low hit on Vikings center John Sullivan.

What are the ramifications for Suh from the $100,000 fine the league imposed Tuesday?

Mike: It’s a huge fine, and the NFL sent a strong message that another violation close to what happened Sunday will result in a suspension. That would hurt Suh and the team.

Most people have come down hard on Suh for the play. It detracted from his performance Sunday, and it puts him under the microscope for the rest of the year. He has to be careful not to let it take away any of his aggressiveness within the rules.

One other sidelight: it’s a shame for the Lions that the victory and Bush’s performance has been overshadowed.

Tim: I think reckless is probably the best way to describe it. Unnecessary maybe being another.

I don’t think Suh intended to hurt Sullivan and the play didn't happen as far behind the play as some people have indicated. I think it was a classy move for Suh to seek out Sullivan at halftime and apologize in person.

Sullivan was quoted Monday as saying the incident is past him and he holds no ill will toward Suh.

The league sent a very clear message to Suh with this fine. One more and you'll get suspended.

It wasn’t an after-the-whistle penalty, but Suh has to be smarter than that. Know the situation. Be football aware. Sullivan was never going to catch DeAndre Levy. Know the situation.

I will add this point, not one opposing player has ever missed a snap because of one of these hits or incidents. He deserved the fine, but I thought $100,000 was excessive.

Ndamukong Suh and Nick FairleyDefensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley (Photo: G.Smith/Detroit Lions)

Suh’s stat line didn’t show it, but he was dominant and one reason Nick Fairley had 1.5 sacks and five tackles. How good can that combo really be?

Mike: It’s one game, and we have to judge it that way, but the front four is the potential to be one of the league's best. Fairley and Suh are a big part of that.

They’ll face quarterbacks who are much better than the Vikings’ Christian Ponder, but they won’t go up against a better running back than Adrian Peterson.

There is a key element that gets overlooked: the Lions are stronger at defensive end with Jason Jones and rookie Ziggy Ansah than they were last year with Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch. Avril is a speed rusher, and Vanden Bosch didn’t have much left.

Teams won’t be able to run outside the way they did a year ago.

Tim: Mike makes a very good point about the defensive ends. It all works in tandem upfront.

It does start with Suh and Fairley up the middle, though. The pressure they provided Sunday flushed a lot of plays outside and the defensive ends and linebackers were the beneficiaries in a lot of cases.

I thought Ansah had a terrific game and he’s only going to get better the more he plays.

The Lions front passed the test against a very good rushing offense. We’ll see how they match up against some of the better passing attacks coming down the line.

Bush had a terrific debut with 191 total yards from scrimmage. Is 1,500 scrimmage yards obtainable?

Mike: Instead of 2,500 rushing – the goal Adrian Peterson set for this season?

My projection before the season was that hitting the 1,500-yard mark would be a good season for Bush. And I also said that he could the victim of being judged by unrealistic expectations.

I’m not changing that. Expectations for Reggie after the opener are even higher, and know what? That’s good. Let’s set the bar higher – to 2,000 yards, and start counting it down: 191 in the bank, 1,809 to go.

My math is on, but am I off my rocker – or just off on a tangent?

Tim: You’re not off you’re rocker on this one.

After watching, Sunday, how the Lions plan on using Bush, 1,500 total yards is very obtainable, if he stays relatively healthy. I think 2,000 yards is a lot to ask, but it shouldn’t promote spontaneous bouts of laughter if brought into the conversation.

Defenses are going to have to adjust and that’s when we’ll see Calvin Johnson go off.

Eventually, it’s going to come down to a pick-your-poison scenario for defenses when it comes to stopping Bush, Johnson and Lions offense.

That, my friends, is the definition of a no-win situation, especially if Burleson continues to produce, Joseph Fauria continue to impress and Ryan Broyles gets back on the field.

How fun is it to be quarterback Matthew Stafford running this offense right now?

Mike: Dude, I like my life the way it is. Really. But to be a 25-yer-old starting quarterback in the NFL, with dough in the bank, nice-looking girlfriend, a Birmingham restaurant with a steak named after you, a chance to throw out the first pitch before a Tigers game . . . I could go on and on and on.

Suffice to say, it would be nice to be Matthew Stafford even if you threw 500 straight incomplete passes.

And if you don’t agree with me, then YOU are off your rocker.

(Go ahead, Tim, talk football now.)

Tim: Of course, you took that question in a whole different direction like only YOU can.

I digress, for Mike.

It’s got to pretty fun orchestrating an offense that wants to get the ball out quick (limiting hits on the quarterback) and now has so many options in it.

Johnson, Bush, Nate Burleson (78 receiving yards), Joique Bell (92 total yards), and Broyles hasn’t even hit the field yet … Oh my.

It must be fun running this offense.

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