DETROIT – Center John Sullivan escaped a potentially serious knee injury on a low block by Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, but the Vikings were angry over the hit following a 34-24 loss at Ford Field on Sunday.
“I got to know Suh at the Pro Bowl last year, and he’s a good dude, but that’s uncalled for,” defensive end Jared Allen said. “This is a fraternity. In the NFL, you try and take care of guys. Granted, things happen and guys are going to make hits and some things are going to be borderline. But you can’t take a dude’s legs out from behind on an interception when he’s running down the field. To me, there’s just no room for that.”
That hit happened on an interception return by linebacker DeAndre Levy for a 33-yard touchdown in the second quarter. But on the return, Suh dived at Sullivan’s legs as he was running in pursuit behind the play.
Suh received a 15-yard penalty for a low block, negating the touchdown. Sullivan lay on the ground for a few minutes as the Vikings medical staff tended to him. He returned the next series.
Sullivan, who had ice bags on his knees after the game, was diplomatic when asked about the play.
“Having a play like that doesn’t feel good,” he said. “But it was a penalty. It cost them 15 yards, and we’ll see what goes on from there.”
Sullivan’s teammates were not happy.
“I’m just going to say no comment right now because it would probably be best for me to say no comment,” right tackle Phil Loadholt said.
Said coach Leslie Frazier: “Nobody thought that was a good play. The fact that they got a penalty because of it tells you it wasn’t a good play. You hate to see guys go low on players. We’ve seen the results of it. It’s not a good thing when it happens.”
Suh, who has a history of cheap shots, said he didn’t mean to injure Sullivan and that the two discussed it after halftime.
“I’m not going for his knees,” Suh said. “He knows that. We had a great conversation running out at halftime. And he understood. My aim was his waist to cut him off.”
Simpson stands out
Jerome Simpson had a disappointing debut with the Vikings in 2012, but he started his second season on a positive note. Simpson’s performance was one of the few bright spots for the Vikings. He caught seven passes (on only eight targets) for 140 yards.
“It’s nice to come out and have, I guess, a good game, but we lost,” he said. “I just have to stay consistent and keep doing this throughout the year.”
Simpson caught a 44-yard pass in the second quarter and later added a diving 47-yarder.
“That’s the type of catches that I make,” he said. “Those are Jerome Simpson catches.”
“It was good that we took some shots and got the ball downfield some,” he added. “We just need to do more of it so we can keep defenses on their toes.”
Letroy Guion started in place of injured Kevin Williams, not rookie first-round pick Sharrif Floyd. Guion slid over from nose tackle and Fred Evans started in his place.
The move was not entirely surprising because a knee injury sidelined Floyd for most of the preseason. He entered the game on the second series and batted down one pass at the line.
Rookie cornerback Xavier Rhodes was called for pass interference on a throw to Calvin Johnson on a critical third-and-5 in the fourth quarter.
Rhodes said he thought the pass was uncatchable, but he had his hands on Johnson as the ball sailed out of bounds.
“I have to get my hands off the receiver,” Rhodes said. “I can’t give the referee a reason to throw the flag. I gave him a reason once I still had my hands on him.”
The penalty kept alive the Lions scoring drive that gave them a 10-point lead again.
• Adrian Peterson’s 78-yard touchdown run was the longest touchdown on a player’s first carry of a season since the 1970 merger, according to the NFL. It was Peterson’s sixth career run of 70-plus yards.
• Tight end Kyle Rudolph was targeted only four times and finished with two catches for 27 yards. Rookie first-round pick Cordarrelle Patterson was targeted once and caught a 10-yard pass.
• Blair Walsh tied Ryan Longwell’s team record with his 11th 50-plus-yard field goal. Walsh’s 52-yarder in the third quarter made him 11-for-11 on field-goal attempts of at least 50 yards in his 18-game NFL career.
• The Lions had three touchdowns overturned on reviews, including two by Reggie Bush on runs. However, the Lions scored ensuing touchdowns on two of those instances. On the first, a 20-yard touchdown catch by Johnson was nullified when replays show the ball hit the ground in the end zone. The Lions settled for a David Akers field goal.
• Erin Henderson, in his first game as the starting middle linebacker, led the team with 11 tackles. Safety Harrison Smith was second with 10, and also recovered a fumble.