Ngata made life rough for RG3

Ngata made life rough for RG3
December 9, 2012, 7:15 pm
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Loss to Redskins is "tough pill to swallow" for Ravens' D

As an interior defensive lineman, Haloti Ngata is often quite literally in the middle of things. Sunday against the Redskins, he found himself figuratively in the middle of a couple of key plays.

The one that will be focused on nationally — and replayed to induced grimaces with each showing — came on the first play after the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter. Ngata chased down Robert Griffin III as the Redskins quarterback scrambled for 13 yards, and the combination of their bodies’ trajectories caused RG3’s knee to snap forward in a way knees aren’t supposed to go.

Back in the first quarter, Ngata had another run-in with Griffin. On a second-and-13 from the Redskins’ 45, Ngata hit the QB just after he released the ball, sending him flying onto his back and knocking his helmet off. Ngata was flagged for roughing the passer. Griffin was also called for grounding on the play, so the penalties offset. Had Ngata not been penalized, the Redskins would have faced third-and-23 (grounding carries loss of down). The Redskins went on to drive for their second touchdown.

It may well have been that officials were reacting to RG3’s helmet flying off. Replays appeared to show Ngata pushing Griffin in the chest rather than striking him with his helmet.

Back to the Griffin injury play: While it’s impressive that a man of Ngata’s size caught up with the QB downfield, it’s also indicative of some of what these admittedly untrained eyes observed during the game while focusing on Ngata. On too many plays, he got stood up and pushed off the line by a few yards. Heading into this game, Ngata said he was feeling healthier than he had in about seven weeks since injuring his shoulder. Seeing him pushed off the line, you have to wonder.