Ravens coming through in the clutch
What was Matt Elam thinking?
Was there some other motivation behind his comments on Wednesday that Lions All-Pro receiver Calvin Johnson is "pretty old" and implied Johnson wasn't very physical? Yes, Elam was talking about the 6-foot-5, 236-pound receiver who has been known to rip balls away from three defenders at once. And who, by the way, is only 28.
Or was it simply a rookie mistake? The Ravens are 1-5 on the road this season, so they already faced a tough task going into the Lions' den on Monday night in a game they need to win as they try to hang on to the sixth and final AFC playoff spot.
Elam certainly hasn't made their job any easier now that he's seemingly baited the Lions' best player. Ask the Cowboys how baiting Johnson turns out.
Before the Cowboys met the Lions a few years ago, then-Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan had said Johnson would probably be the Cowboys' third-best receiver. 'Megatron' went on to score two late touchdowns as the Lions rallied to win.
Earlier this year, Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant essentially said he was every bit as good as Johnson. Oh, really? A few days later against the Cowboys, Johnson caught 14 passes for 329 yards -- the second-highest total in NFL history. Take that, Dez.
Anger or challenge Megatron at your peril.
Elam has suddenly put a huge bulls-eye on himself. You can bet Megatron, the Lions -- and the TV cameras -- will be relishing the first time Megatron gets in the open field with the 5-foot-10, 210-pound Elam in front of him. Who are you taking in that showdown?
You have to think feisty, fiery Lions coach Jim Schwartz -- who has some history with the Harbaugh family -- will scheme in every possible to make sure that happens.
You also have to figure James Ihedigbo or Lardarius Webb, veteran leaders in the Ravens secondary, have pulled Elam aside and told him to pipe down a little bit. After all, they all have to deal with an angry Megatron.
Elam has been thrust into a starting job this year as a rookie, in part because Michael Huff was such a failure, but he has yet to intercept a pass. And, ironically enough given his comments, Elam hasn't been overly physical. His tackling has been suspect at times, and although a starter most of the year, the first-round pick could be considered a mild disappointment.
Maybe Elam was just trying to pysch himself up to face the best receiver he'll see all season. He did offer, during the same interview, that Megatron is a "big, fast, athletic, unstoppable, freak." And he did backtrack a bit, tweeting later that, "I will never disrespect greatness."
But he will apparently poke it in the eye.