Ravens Legends: Haloti Ngata
Haloti Ngata Was Special Part Of Ravens History
He may play for the Detroit Lions now, but Haloti Ngata will always be a Raven in our hearts. Ngata was drafted by the Ravens with the 12th overall pick in 2006. The 6’4″ 345 pound defensive tackle may be the eighth wonder of the world. The combination of power, quickness and explosiveness at that size, was game changing for the Ravens. Add on the ability to gracefully intercept passes and you have an unstoppable and immovable man all in one.
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The bulk of Ngata’s work was unglamorous battles in the trenches. Ngata put up some great production for a space-eating defensive tackle, yet his true impact isn’t measured by stats. Ngata demanded double teams, which made life easier for the Ravens front seven. He kept offensive linemen off linebackers and filled gaps. Most defensive linemen fit in one of two categories. They’re either a penetrator or a space eater. Ngata has always been both.
The numbers may not tell the entire story, but they are impressive. Ngata has had 28 sacks, and five interceptions. He has tipped many passes and has made many tackles. From 2010-2012 he had three straight seasons with 5 sacks; in 2010 he had a career high of 5.5 sacks. Ngata was a big player who made a big impact.
There are several Ngata memories that stand out the most. Breaking Ben Roethlisberger’s nose was priceless (sorry it was). Ngata had his best moments against the Steelers. In the Ravens 35-7 season opening victory over the Steelers, Ngata crushed Roethlisberger and jarred the ball loose. I could watch that play on an endless loop.
Ngata also had two great games against the New York Jets. In the season opener in 2010, the Ravens beat the Jets on the road, 10-9. One of the key plays was a Ngata sack late in the game. Ngata grabbed the Jets guard and threw him to the ground, and in a quick flash, took down the quarterback.
Ngata also forced Mark Sanchez to fumble in a 2011 game in Baltimore (I was there, this play was awesome). Ngata came flying free and gave a massive hit to Mark Sanchez. A few seconds later Jarrett Johnson was in the end zone for a touchdown. That game was a dominant Ravens win. I remember the play like it was yesterday. I was sitting in the upper level in the corner of the end zone. I watched Ngata the whole way. He had such an amazing burst off the ball.
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Ngata went to five Pro Bowls and won a Super Bowl with the Ravens. He was one of the core players for the Ravens for a long time. Often you hear about a big three in sports. The Ravens had a big four, with Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs and Ngata. There is no doubt that Ngata was a part of something special in Baltimore.