By Aaron Wilson
The Baltimore Sun
9:48 AM EST, December 20, 2012
One week after an active, aggressive game against the Washington Redskins where he recorded five tackles and knocked rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III out of the game with a knee injury, Ravens Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata was extremely quiet against the Denver Broncos.
Ngata had one tackle in the first quarter of a 34-17 loss to Denver, tackling running back Knowshon Moreno after a gain of 7 yards. After that play, Ngata wasn't heard from again other than one quarterback hurry on Peyton Manning.
“Watching film, I feel like sometimes I can make plays where I’m not making plays or get off blocks where I’m not getting off blocks," Ngata said. "That just goes with getting the strength back and practicing it.”
Ngata said he's getting closer to being fully recovered from injuries that limited him throughout the season and prompted coach John Harbaugh to hold him out of a rout of the Oakland Raiders.
Ngata has dealt with a sprained right medial collateral ligament in his right knee and a right shoulder injury.
He's no longer listed on the injury report.
"Yeah, I’m getting there," Ngata said. "I’m actually starting to feel better and better. And I think against the Redskins and last week, I actually felt pretty good, and hopefully, I can continue to get back to where I want to be and play some dominant football.”
For the season, the Pro Bowl defensive lineman has 47 tackles and four sacks.
Ngata signed a five-year, $61 million contract last year that included a $25 million signing bonus.
The Ravens have been plagued by injuries all season, including top cornerback Lardarius Webb being on injured reserve with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs missing time with a torn right Achilles tendon and one game with a torn right biceps, inside linebacker Jameel McClain being out for the season with a spinal cord contusion and middle linebacker Ray Lewis still on the injured reserve-designated to return list with a surgically repaired right triceps.
"We definitely had an injury bug this year, but we had guys step up and make some plays for us," Ngata said. "And hopefully, we can get some guys back and see what we can do there and just have a great week of practice.”
"Definitely, I feel like if we can get healthy, we could have a good run in the playoffs. And so, if we can do that, then definitely, I think we can do some things in the playoffs.”
Ngata agreed with free safety Ed Reed's assessment that the Ravens' showing against the Broncos was an embarrassment.
The Ravens alllowed 350 yards of total offense and 21 first downs as Moreno gained 118 yards and scored a touchdown while being named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week.
"Yeah, I think anybody would be embarrassed with that performance," Ngata said. "I think we, as a defense, have a lot of pride and know that we can play better. Hopefully we can have a great week of practice and show that on Sunday.”
Heading into the Ravens' final regular-season home game Sunday against the New York Giants, they've lost their last two games at M&T Bank Stadium to the Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Ravens were booed by the fans during the Denver game.
"I think us and the fans have a lot of pride in having that homefield advantage," Ngata said. "And us as players haven’t shown as a team that we’re a good home team lately. So hopefully, we can pick that back up and end it off with a win.
"Definitely. I think we have the pieces and we definitely have the guys that can do it. We’ve just been playing inconsistently, and hopefully, we can just get back to the type of football we know we can.”