Notes: Matt Elam gets the last laugh
DETROIT — In the end, Baltimore Ravens rookie safety Matt Elam got the last laugh.
Earlier in the week, Elam had drawn the Lions’ attention with comments about wide receiver Calvin Johnson.
“He’s pretty old, so I don’t know how physical he’ll be,” Elam said. “He’s a big guy, but he’s older. I guess when they get older they’re not going to be as physical, you know what I’m saying? We’re going to have to be physical, make him uncomfortable.”
Johnson, an ancient 28, laughed it off and said he’d have to show Elam his “old-man strength” during the game.
But early in the game, it actually looked as if Johnson was off his game.
On the second drive, Johnson was wide open on 3rd and 15 and uncharacteristically dropped the ball, forcing the Lions to punt.
Johnson had another drive-ending drop in the second quarter.
“We had some things going there and we had some critical third downs, I think, that we could have kept the drives going,” Johnson said. “When that happens, you just didn’t get the ball all the way. It’s as simple as that. I just have to stay on it one more second.”
Lions coach Jim Schwartz said Johnson is still human, despite his nickname.
“As much as we say ‘Megatron’ and things like that, there’s still a human element to this game and you’re not going to catch every single one,” Schwartz said. “Every single pass isn’t going to be perfect.”
Ravens cornerback Corey Graham, a former Chicago Bear, wasn’t expecting that from Johnson.
“Whenever you play against a great receiver, you’re surprised when he drops the ball,” Graham said. “Things happen. Guys coming around you, trying to hit you, things are gonna be rough. Yeah, I was a little shocked that he dropped a few passes but he made a few plays.”
Johnson finished with six receptions for 98 yards, leading the team.
For his part, Elam sounded apologetic about how his comments were taken.
“No disrespect to Megatron,” Elam said. “I didn’t mean it that way. But I just feel like it’s Monday night. You gotta come to play, everybody’s watching. You’re going to be up for this game anyways, it shouldn’t be somebody having to call somebody out to play a good game.
“You’re going to play a good game anyway because it’s Monday night and everybody watching. You want to win. It’s playoff time, you want to win. No disrespect to Megatron, he’s one of the greatest receivers in the game. No disrespect for him. It’s just my competitive spirit. I just wanted to win.”
All Johnson needed was four receiving yards, which he got early, to become the first player in NFL history with 5,000 receiving yards over three seasons.
Johnson has 5,094 yards in the last three seasons.
With 235 passing yards against the Ravens, quarterback Matthew Stafford passed 4,000 yards on the season and is the Lions’ first passer in team history to record 4,000 yards in three different seasons.
Reggie Bush has 1,403 yards through 14 games, the first Lions’ running back with more than 1,400 yards since James Stewart had 1,471 in 2000.