It was 23 to 16 for the Atlanta Falcons that not satisfied with the victory began a war of words with two players from Detroit this week.
Although we believed that Sunday’s showdown between the Atlanta Falcons and the Detroit Lions had ended with a 23-16 victory for the NFC South defending champions, two of their players, center Todd McClure and wide receiver Roddy White, with the collaboration of the media, specifically Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Jeff Schultz, decided to play their own overtime with accusations of unsporting behavior from their rivals.
Lions defensive linemen Ndamukong Suh and Cliff Avril were the target of the critics for supposedly taunting, and even kicking Falcons quarterback Mark Ryan when he was down. Without verifying if those accusations were true, Schultz took McClure’s and White’s complaints for granted and published them on his column, which ignited the war of words.
Making them look like dirty players was something that neither Suh nor Avril liked at all, especially when the video shows that while Ryan was down, Lions number 90 and 92 were not around him. Therefore the Falcons got no evidence to back up their accusations, neither does Shultz to assume that “it doesn’t seem like the kind of thing somebody would make up after a win,” like he wrote.
Upset with the critics and the media taking things out of context, Avril tweeted that he isn’t in the business of getting players hurt, neither taunting someone who is hurt. Then on an interview for the Lions website he added that the media wasn’t being arbitrary, since they were making them look like the bad guys, but “nobody’s ever said anything about how they play.”
We can’t say that Avril is a dirty player, but when it comes to the 2010 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year there are some incidents that put into evidence that Suh could be playing a little bit rougher that what is allowed. Last year he was fined twice for hits on Bears’ Jay Cutler and Jake Delhomme from the Browns. And this year during the preseason he was fined again with $20,000 for a hit on Bengals’ Andy Dalton.
Hopefully this war of words will be over soon; it is time for all the players involved to start focusing exclusively on football, since winning this discussion will not grant them a playoff berth.
While Atlanta will be taking their Bye Week, the Lions will try to end with their two-game loss streak on the road, against the Denver Broncos. The presence of starting quarterback Matthew Stafford is still uncertain, after he suffered an ankle injury against the Falcons.
Against the Falcons the Lions D-line struggled a lot with costly penalties and tackling, ironically two of their strengths in the first five games of the season. According to cornerback Chris Houston those two factors were what made them loose the game against Atlanta. If they can solve those issues by Sunday, the Lions have good chances of picking up their great early season and overcome the two losses suffered in the last two games.