Haloti Ngata Having His Best Season Since 2010


Oct 26, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Baltimore Ravens defensive end Haloti Ngata (92) knocks the ball away from Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) during the fourth quarter at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

It’s easy to get lost in all the bad things that come out of a loss, especially a gut wrenching one like the Ravens suffered to the Bengals in week eight.  But as always, there are some positives to take note of.  We were well aware that Haloti Ngata was having a solid bounce back season, for example, but he had his second best game of the season this week.

Ngata racked up a sack, a QB hit, a QB hurry, seven total tackles, and 3 stops while forcing a fumble that the Ravens recovered.  It was quite a show for the big man, who has incredibly racked up two interceptions this season as well.  Though his sack of Andy Dalton was the first of the season, Ngata has totaled 14 pressures while adding three batted passes through eight games.

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His outstanding performance against the Bengals moved Haloti Ngata up to number six in Pro Football Focus’ rankings of all 3-4 defensive ends in the NFL out of 49 qualifiers.  It’s been a nice bounce back season for the big guy after he finished 19th last year while playing mostly at the nose.

In fact, Ngata hasn’t ranked this high since 2010, when he was widely considered to be one of the very best defensive linemen in football while finishing 3rd among 76 qualifying players.  Ngata racked up a career high 5.5 sacks, 63 tackles, a fumble recovery, and had five passes defensed in his finest season.  He faltered thereafter, finishing 14th in 2012 and 17th in 2011

An offseason focus on conditioning and lowering his body fat percentage has clearly paid dividends for Haloti Ngata through eight games this season.  Ngata has received a positive grade from PFF in every game this season except in week seven against Atlanta when he has a slightly negative score (-0.7).

Ngata’s rebirth at the defensive end position, coupled with Brandon Williams’ emergence at the nose, has paid major dividends for a much improved Raven’s defense this season.  When you have those guys creating consistent penetration and taking on multiple offensive linemen, it allows the talented linebacker crew to flow to the ball.

For Haloti Ngata, 2014 has seen the rebirth of a career that will likely go down as one of the best in NFL history.  He may no longer be the elite force he once was, but the 30 year old has proven this season that he isn’t finished yet.