Packers feel effects of improving Haloti Ngata

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
Haloti Ngata

Allen Park — Packers coach Mike McCarthy in March called Ndamukong Suh leaving the Lions a win-win as Suh left the NFC North and joined former Green Bay assistant Joe Philbin in Miami.

But, Packers right guard T.J. Lang didn't feel victorious at all in his first matchup against Suh's replacement when the Lions beat Green Bay a couple weeks ago.

"I didn't really get to relax much because I go from Suh to another All-Pro guy in Haloti Ngata," Lang said on a teleconference Sunday. "So … my job definitely didn't get any easier."

Ngata, whom the Lions the traded for after Suh's departure, hasn't played up to Suh's standard this season, but he's been much better during the Lions' current three-game winning streak, which started with that win in Green Bay on Nov. 15.

With Ngata playing better, the Lions have suddenly been dominant against the run, holding the Packers to 47 yards, Raiders to 52 and Eagles to 68 in the past three games. After entering Week 10 ranked 30th in rush defense, the Lions have improved to 22nd.

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Ngata had a season-high four tackles against the Packers, and he's had a tackle for loss in each of the past two games after having just one in his first seven games.

"Obviously, Suh and Ngata are two completely different players, but, man, it wasn't any easier for me," Lang said. "I mean, my head was hurting for about two or three days after that game just with all the atomic bull rushes and head butts that Haloti can deliver."