If the Ravens need more pass rush with leading sack artist Terrell Suggs out, they may look to the big man in the middle.
Pro Bowler Haloti Ngata notched two sacks in Baltimore's 44-13 win over Cincinnati, giving life to a pass rush that didn't get much pressure over the first three quarters.
"I think people think we're going to have a tougher time without Terrell Suggs, but we've been working hard all training camp to create pressure and to get to the quarterback," Ngata said.
"We did a great job up the middle to pressure him [Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton] inside, so it was a bit easier for our guys outside to get to the quarterback."
Ngata notched five sacks last year and a career-high 5.5 in 2010. He bulked up some this offseason because he said he felt weak toward the end of last season.
The added weight didn't seem to hamper Ngata's explosion.
He got a big sack in the third quarter when the Bengals faced third-and-2 from their own 49-yard line. Ngata cut up the middle to drop Dalton for a 3-yard loss.
Ngata's second sack came in the fourth quarter when he pulled a swim move on center Jeff Faine and hit Dalton for a 13-yard loss.
The Ravens had four sacks in the game. Three of them came in the fourth quarter, as they didn't do much to throw Dalton off-rhythm when he marched the Bengals down the field on three long drives.
Linebacker Ray Lewis notched a sack and forced fumble on the second play of the fourth quarter. Then defensive end Pernell McPhee and rookie outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw shared another on the next drive.
Blitzing cornerback Lardarius Webb also got a big hit on Dalton, but was flagged for a personal foul penalty. The Ravens defense looked to be playing at another speed once it got a lead.
"That let us basically get out there and hunt after Andy Dalton, and that's what we did," Ngata said.
"Anytime that someone has to play from behind against us, and the history that we've had around here, it's hard," Lewis said. "It's going to be really rough for people."