Suh encouraged by Lions' impressive finish

Ndamukong Suh noticed one thing about the two teams that played in the NFC championship game last weekend.

Both the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears had trouble with his Detroit Lions this season.

"I'll never be a moral victory guy, but it is encouraging to see two teams from our division playing for a spot in the Super Bowl and knowing that we beat Green Bay and played Chicago tough," Suh said.

"We didn't learn how to finish games and overcome mistakes until the end of the year, but we figured it out and I think our four-game winning streak is definitely something for us to build on going into next season."

Suh has a lot to be excited about these days. The 307-pound defensive tackle out of Nebraska was the only rookie on The Associated Press All-Pro Team this week — an impressive reward for the 10 sacks that helped turn Suh into a fan favorite in his first season in Detroit.

The Lions won their last four games to finish 6-10, including a victory over Super Bowl-bound Green Bay. Detroit lost to Chicago twice, but by a combined nine points.

Suh anchored a defensive line that might have been Detroit's best unit, overwhelming opposing blockers with his strength and athleticism. As a team, the Lions ranked sixth in the league with 44 sacks.

"I was fortunate to be able to grasp my role in our scheme and to flourish in it," Suh said in a phone interview with The Associated Press from his family's home in Portland, Ore. "I'm just going to keep working hard to improve because I'll never be satisfied."

Suh was also picked for the Pro Bowl, but postseason shoulder surgery will prevent him from playing.

"It's going to be tough to not play," he said. "But I made the decision to put my team ahead of myself and I don't regret that for one minute."

Suh had surgery earlier this month. He's splitting time this offseason between Lincoln, Neb. — where he's doing most of his rehabilitation — Houston and Portland.

Suh has plenty of time to recover before next season, although he's hesitant to say exactly how long it will take for him to return to full strength.

"It's tough to put a timetable on it because all bodies are different," he said. "They respond differently to injuries."


AP Sports Writer Larry Lage contributed to this report.