Bears coach Lovie Smith had no issues with [si_launchNFLPopup video='8d46ee2c426f41548d272967745c4ec8']Ndamukong Suh's hard takedown of Jay Cutler[/si_launchNFLPopup] on Monday night. Neither did Cutler himself, nor the league, which said Monday that Suh would not be disciplined for the hit.
Chicago receiver Brandon Marshall, on the other hand ...
A Suh. What u did to Jay wasn't cool. Great players don't have to do that.
— Brandon Marshall (@BMarshall) October 23, 2012
Suh chased down a scrambling Cutler on the play in question, grabbed the QB's sleeve, then slammed him to the turf as Cutler tried to spin free. Cutler stayed down for a moment, then later headed to the locker room for what the Bears called a rib injury.
"When he got a hold of me, I knew it wasn't going to end well," Cutler said in his postgame press conference.
Suh was not flagged on the play and walked over to on Cutler, while he was being attended to by trainers on the field. The two then appeared to exchange a brief, friendly word once Cutler got to his feet -- Suh told the Chicago Tribune that Cutler patted him on the stomach and told him he was fine.
Bears fans might be in Marshall's camp here, especially given Suh's history (and the fact that this is at least his third brutal hit on Cutler during his career).
But Marshall's wrong about this one -- as Suh's teammate, Lawrence Jackson, pointed out on Twitter. The fact that the NFL so quickly determined that Suh was in the clear is a pretty strong indication that nothing illegal happened. Given Suh's past transgressions, the league would not have hesitated to at least hand out a fine if it felt such a punishment was warranted. Steelers safety Ryan Clark also spoke out to defend Suh's hit.
This was one of those cases where the result looked worse than the intent. Suh's a big, physical player and he happened to catch Cutler a little vulnerable. There did not appear to be any intent to injure, though, and Cutler said that his injury came from falling on the football, not the force of the hit.
Fortunately, Cutler was able to return to the game and play the entire second half. He might have been a little worse for the wear, but it was a display of toughness that should win Cutler a few points among Chicago fans.
The Bears and Lions should be able to put the Suh sack behind them, assuming Marshall lets it go.