DETROIT — Tom Brady wants to get hit.
“That’s part of the preseason process, to have guys sack you and knock you on the ground so your body can kind of get callous to those hits,” the two-time MVP said. “That’s actually a nice thing to have happen for a quarterback.”
Ndamukong Suh might make Brady wish he didn’t say that.
Suh may grant Brady his wish when the Detroit Lions host the New England Patriots in a preseason game Saturday night. The reigning rookie of the year and All-Pro defensive tackle slammed Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton to the turf earlier this month and was fined for a third time in less than a year for being too rough.
Brady is well aware of Suh after playing the Lions, who led by 11 late in the first half only to get routed after he threw four touchdown passes in the second half. He also knows Suh is not alone, playing on perhaps one of the NFL’s best defensive lines next to Corey Williams alongside ends Kyle Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril.
“They can get after the quarterback,” Brady said. “So, you’re not going to be standing back there holding onto it for too long — not that we do that very often anyway. But especially a week like this where all those guys really feed off the sacks, the negative plays, their crowd really feeds into it.”
When Detroit’s defense takes the field, its fans say, “Suuuuuuuh,” in unison and they do it again after each play he makes.
It’s safe to say the legion of Lions fans are fired up about this year’s team after enduring miserable football for much of this century.
Ford Field is sold out for the preseason game, a rare feat for the franchise, to watch Suh try to sack Brady and for Matthew Stafford to connect with Calvin Johnson and Co.
Stafford is excited about the relatively marquee matchup, too, but he’s more fired up that the starters expect to make more than just a token appearance in the third of four preseason games.
“That’s the biggest thing,” Stafford said. “We love that it’s a sellout and it’s national TV and we’re excited about it. But it’s about our football team and getting better. We’re going against a great team in the Patriots and it’s a chance to compete.”
Brady feels the same way, even going as far as insisting the previously lowly Lions will give him a feel for how ready they are to win games that count in a couple weeks.
“Hopefully we go out and play really well,” he said. “I think that would be a great way for us to kind of see where we’re at against a very good team.”
In particular, New England offensive guard Logan Mankins is looking forward to matching up with Detroit’s defensive line.
“It’s going to be a big test for the O line,” Mankins said. “They’ve got one of the better front fours in the league, so we’ll get to see where we’re at this week if we can hold our own against them.”
Patriots safety James Sanders, likewise, has been impressed with Stafford and his options: Johnson and Nate Burleson along with tight ends Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler.
“A lot of very dangerous skill players, a great young quarterback,” he said. “It’s going to be a test for our defense.”
Detroit’s defense, of course, will face the daunting challenge of trying to slow down Brady. The reigning MVP looked as sharp as ever last week, leading the first-string offense to scores on four of six possessions in the first half against Tampa Bay.
“There’s nothing like playing Tom Brady,” Lions cornerback Eric Wright said. “He’s a jacket guy, a future Hall of Famer.”
has only two winning records in the last 20 years.
Giants, Jets postpone game
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Giants and Jets have postponed their preseason game from Saturday to Monday due to the threat of Hurricane Irene.
Giants president and CEO John Mara said Friday that moving the game two days later was the best course of action for the safety of all.
Hurricane Irene was on track to reach the New York area by Sunday.
New York City planned to shut down the entire mass transit system by noon on Saturday.
The game had originally been scheduled for 7 p.m. on Saturday, but had been moved up five hours on Thursday because of the Hurricane.
It will now be played at 7 p.m. on Monday night.
Packers 24, Colts 21
INDIANAPOLIS — Graham Harrell led Green Bay to 11 points in the final 35 seconds, rallying the defending Super Bowl champs to a 24-21 victory over Indianapolis on Friday night.
Harrell threw an 11-yard TD pass to Ryan Taylor with 35 seconds left, then hooked up with Taylor again on the 2-point conversion to make it 21-21. After the Packers recovered an onside kick, Harrell set up Mason Crosby for a 50-yard field goal as time expired.
Colts backup Curtis Painter also played well, going 11 of 21 for 171 yards.
Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers was in midseason form, going 19 of 23 for 204 yards with one TD to give Green Bay a 10-0 second-quarter lead.
Rams 14, Chiefs 10
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Sam Bradford led the St. Louis Rams to a pair of touchdowns, and their defense made life miserable for Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel in a 14-10 preseason victory Friday night.
Bradford was 8 of 8 for 76 yards on his first two series, with scoring passes of 6 yards to Mike Sims-Walker and 11 yards to rookie tight end Lance Kendricks. Bradford finished with 95 yards passing in his most significant dress rehearsal before the Rams’ opener against Philadelphia.
When the reigning NFL offensive rookie of the year wasn’t slicing up the Chiefs’ struggling defense, Steven Jackson was pounding it into submission. The big running back carried 15 times for 72 yards as St. Louis coach Steve Spagnuolo played his starters the entire first half.
The Chiefs also played their first team until halftime, with much different results.
Cassel was 6 of 13 for 59 yards and was sacked for an 11-yard loss, while Kansas City’s top-ranked rushing attack produced just 14 yards on six first-half attempts. Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones, who combined for 2,363 yards rushing in 2010, each carried twice for 8 yards.
The only highlight in the first half for the Chiefs was linebacker Derrick Johnson, who dropped several would-be interceptions a year ago. Johnson leaped in front of Bradford’s misguided pass late in the first quarter and held on at the Rams 7. Kansas City wound up going a yard in the wrong direction on offense before settling for Ryan Succop’s 26-yard field goal.
Even the Chiefs’ special teams were a disaster.
They drove inside the Rams 5 with just over 3 minutes left in the game, but three straight passes by backup quarterback Tyler Palko were broken up. Succop came on to attempt a field goal — which would have only made it 14-13 — to a round of boos from the sparse crowd.
The kick was promptly blocked.
Then there were the penalties, which derailed several promising drives. Offensive tackle Barry Richardson was called for three holding penalties, only one of which was accepted, and rookie guard Rodney Hudson was called for another after Johnson’s interception set up prime field position.
Things weren’t much better for Kansas City on defense.
Jackson ran for 25 yards the first time he touched the ball. When Kansas City finally had the Rams facing third-and-19 on their opening drive, cornerback Brandon Carr blew the coverage and Bradford found Brandon Gibson for a 20-yard gain and the first down.
A couple minutes later, safety Kendrick Lewis missed his assignment and Sims-Walker easily pulled in Bradford’s touchdown toss to give St. Louis a 7-0 lead.
The Chiefs went three-and-out on their next possession, and the Rams marched 60 yards for another score. This time, it was linebacker Jovan Belcher blowing the coverage on the TD pass.
Things got marginally better for Kansas City in the second half, though by that point the starters had their helmets off and the outcome was left to backups trying to make the team.
Backup cornerback Travis Daniels foiled a promising drive by St. Louis when he picked off A.J. Feeley’s pass midway through the third quarter.
Fifth-round draft pick Ricky Stanzi, who is battling Palko for the Chiefs’ backup quarterback job, led Kansas City on an 81-yard drive that he capped with a 32-yard TD pass to tight end Cody Slate.
Palko was 7 of 12 for 92 yards, while Stanzi finished 8 of 14 for 121 yards and a score.
Notes: Kansas City is 0-3 this preseason, and Todd Haley is 1-10 as a head coach. The Rams are 3-0. … Two banks of lights went out in the first quarter at Arrowhead Stadium, though there was enough daylight to keep playing. The lights eventually came back on. … St. Louis gained 44 yards rushing vs Tennessee. Jackson surpassed that total in his first series. … P Dustin Colquitt migh t have been the Chiefs’ top performer. He put four punts inside the 10.