The last time the Baltimore Ravens visited Arrowhead Stadium, they were able to see why Kansas City Chiefs LB Tamba Hali is one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. While most of the Chiefs were laying an egg in the 30-7 Wild Card blowout loss, Hali had two sacks and a forced fumble.
So far this season, that version of Hali hasn’t shown up for a struggling Kansas City defense. He missed the first game of the season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy and in the three games since, Hali has just one sack.
Despite Hali being unable to turn in the type of stats we are used to seeing, LB Justin Houston has stepped up on the other side of the field with four sacks after five and a half his entire rookie season. Houston has certainly caught the attention of the Ravens.
“The Houston kid from Georgia is a really talented pass rusher,” Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh said. “So, they’ve got two tremendous pass rushers right now.”
If you’ll notice, Hali’s lack of sacks and the emergence of Houston haven’t lowered the attention the Ravens are paying to the Chiefs Pro Bowler.
Baltimore left tackle Michael Oher, the who lined up against Hali in the playoff game in January of 2011, still sees the same player.
“He’s one of the best,” Oher told reporters. “He has a variety of different moves. He can use speed or power. He just gets after it and has a knack for finishing.”
As for Hali’s slow start? Oher isn’t sure what to make of it.
“I don’t know if he’s a sleeping giant because he’s a Pro Bowler every year. You can’t miss that guy.”
Hali is certainly due for a big game, having not picked up multiple sacks since Week 15 last season. That big performance against the Green Bay Packers capped off a stretch of eight sacks in eight games.