Know the enemy: Ravens DT Haloti Ngata

PITTSBURGH -- Haloti Ngata has been a dominant force in the Baltimore Ravens-Pittsburgh Steelers rivalry over the last decade.

And a dominant force, period.

The mammoth defensive tackle has made the Pro Bowl five times and the Ravens have allowed the fewest rushing touchdowns in the NFL (71) since 2006, Ngata’s first season in the NFL.

Ngata’s five career interceptions are tied for the most among NFL defensive tackles since 1970 and two have come against the Steelers. Six of his 25 ½ career sacks have come against the Steelers, including 5 ½ at Heinz Field.

As if he needed more reason to be excited to play against the Steelers Saturday night in an AFC wild-card game, Ngata is returning from a four-game suspension.

Ngata received the ban for using an illegal substance and the 6-foot-4, 340-pounder has apologized to his teammates and promised the Ravens he will make it up to them.

That may not be good for the Steelers.

“I feel amazing,” Ngata said. “Guys are yelling, ‘fresh legs’ all the time, and I just feel like a young kid being out there and being able to jog around. So, it’s just an exciting time and it’s great to be back with the fellas.”

Here is what the Steelers are saying about Ngata.

Coach Mike Tomlin: "This guy has made as many splash plays in the recent history of this series as anybody, whether it’s blowing up the running game, making plays in the backfield or being aware and catching the ball. He is just that type of dynamic, big-body guy. He is a big-body guy that can play in all situations and circumstances. He plays more snaps than most people that look like him. He has a big-time impact on the game."

Right tackle Marcus Gilbert: “He’s the rock of that front seven and he’s been doing it for a number of years. When he plays against us he looks like he is young and he’s fresh and in his early 20s. He’s one of those cats you’ve always got to account for in the run game.”

Left guard Ramon Foster: “As big as he is he’s very athletic. He’s a guy who’s [knocked down] passes against us and caught interceptions. He gets that push up the middle to where [Terrell] Suggs and [Elvis] Dumervil can get sacks. He’s very dynamic and makes you zone in on him. He’s a guy that really makes it tough to block.”

Tight end Heath Miller: “He has great athleticism for his size. It’s pretty special how he moves and he kind of plays like a little guy. He has all of the traits of a big guy but moves like a little guy.”

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger: "He can stop the run. He can rush the passer. You don’t usually get that from an interior guy. Usually that’s the outside guys. Just the physical presence that he is is what makes him so good."