Many people will look back at Super Bowl XLVI and point at the power outage as the reason the Baltimore Ravens let the San Francisco 49ers get back into the game. The loss of power was unfortunate for everyone involved, but it was not the reason everything began to fall apart for the Ravens. Haloti Ngata suffering a sprained knee in the third quarter, on the other hand, now there is something to point at.
When Ngata went down the 49ers had less than 50 total yards rushing. After the Baltimore run-stuffer left the game, Frank Gore and Colin Kaepernick were able to rack up 132 more yards and a score. Technically, you could even count the Gore touchdown too, considering it was the play that Ngata was injured on.
Getting the rushing game going was instrumental in the 49ers comeback, and it nearly cost them the game. San Fran made an impressive charge at winning the Harbaugh Bowl and they came just five yards short of pulling it off.
Ngata could do nothing but watch as the 49ers set up on the five-yard line and his defense attempted to make the biggest stop of the season. It had to be hard on Ngata as he watched his teammates fight with all they had, knowing he could do nothing to help them. Down after down, he watched as the 49ers tried to take his ring away from him, and time after time, his defensive brothers made the play.
Ngata celebrates being the best in the world tonight with his friends, family and teammates. He will raise the Lombardi trophy for the first time in his career and just as importantly, his team will send Ray Lewis out on top.
Congratulations to Haloti Ngata and the Baltimore Ravens for winning the biggest game of the year, for some, the biggest game of their life. Without Ngata in the lineup, it almost did not happen.