Rookie Mistake? What Elam Called Megatron
Big, fast, athletic, unstoppable and freak.
Those were the words rookie safety Matt Elam used yesterday to describe the Lions' Calvin Johnson, who is arguably the best wide receiver in the game right now. Elam apparently ran out of breath as he spouted off the various adjectives to compliment Johnson.
But then he used another word. And what he called Megatron next has already gone viral:
Elam was asked by reporters how you stop a "big, fast, athletic, unstoppable freak."
"He's pretty old, so I don't know how physical he'll be," Elam said, per David Ginsburg of the Associated Press. "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 is 28, six years older than Elam. He's also seven inches taller and about 25 pounds heavier than the rookie with his gigantic 6-foot-5, 236-pound frame.
"I'm at a loss why Elam would even say such a thing," ESPN's Jamison Hensley wrote. "He's wrong on both accounts. Johnson is not old and he's very physical. It's one thing to take a shot. It's another to take a shot and be so wildly off the mark. He'll likely find that out under the bright lights of 'Monday Night Football.' If Elam thinks Johnson is old, I can't wait to hear what he thinks of Tom Brady the following week."
The thing is, as Hensley pointed out, Elam is "so reserved" with reporters. So his comments are uncharacteristic.
That's why, even though I wasn't there, I wonder if Elam really meant it as a rib. I doubt he was "picking a fight" as it has been characterized. He may have made an innocent mistake.
He's already taken to Twitter to show he didn't intend insult.
"I will never disrespect greatness...," Elam tweeted last night.
Bloggers around the web have pointed out what happened the last time somebody challenged Megatron. Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant said he was just as good as Johnson leading up to their matchup, and then Johnson went off, putting up 329 receiving yards.
"In other words, don't make Megatron mad," Hensley said.
The thing is, Elam won't even be the defender lined up across from Johnson Monday. That job will likely belong to cornerback Jimmy Smith, who at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, is also known for his physicality. Smith has had a strong stretch recently – he went seven games without allowing a touchdown prior to the Vikings – but he will have his hands full Monday night.
Elam may have made it more difficult on his teammate.
"It always used to drive me crazy when a [teammate] would pick a fight with a guy I had to play against," ESPN's Mark Schlereth says in the video below. "You'll never be matched* *up purely one-on-one with Megatron. So why start that fire? That's stupidity. He may be old, but you're just dumb."
Ravens' Playoff Odds Not Good
The odds rarely seem to favor the Ravens, and that again seems to be the case as they begin their final three-game stretch of the season.
Football Outsiders did a breakdown of the top seven AFC teams' playoff odds, and the Ravens have the worst. Even the Dolphins, who are currently behind the Ravens in the playoff race based off a head-to-head tiebreaker, have better odds.
The Ravens' total playoff odds are 36.9, while the Dolphins' are 52.9 percent.
"Baltimore's remaining schedule includes three prospective playoff teams (Detroit, New England, Cincinnati), including two of the top three seeds in the AFC. Baltimore's 1.0 projected wins over the final three weeks ranks 30th in the league, and the Ravens figure to be underdogs in each of their remaining games," wrote Danny Tuccitto.
"Miami's schedule is much easier over the next three weeks than Baltimore's. … They're the defending Super Bowl champions, and Miami has been known to falter down the stretch over, say, the past two decades, but overtaking the Dolphins is going to be one tall order."
Lions Treating Monday Like Playoff Game
Last week, the Lions blew the chance to gain ground in their division race after losing a fourth-quarter lead for the third time in the last four weeks.
Their loss against the Eagles caused "emotional damage" after the mistake-filled 34-20 loss. Now they're tied at the top of the division with the Bears with a 7-6 record, and need a win badly to keep their top spot.
That's why at the top of The Detroit News website, you'll see a large headline declaring: "To Lions, the playoffs start Monday night."
Harbaugh on Flacco: That's A Crazy Dude Right There
How does Head Coach John Harbaugh feel when his $120 million quarterback Joe Flacco takes off in the snow and takes a hard hit has he dives for a touchdown?
In the (great) Sound FX video below, you get Harbaugh's raw reaction.
"Crazy! He's crazy! That's a crazy dude right there!" Harbaugh exclaimed from the sideline.
Then when Flacco came back, Harbs said, "I tell you what, you are one crazy son of a gun."
"Yeah," Flacco agreed.
Flacco took a pretty good face plant right into the snow, which Harbaugh found mildly amusing.
Check out the video. Mobile users tap "View in Browser" at the top of the page.
Reggie Bush Expected To Play vs. Ravens
Lions starting running back Reggie Bush didn't play last week after he aggravated a calf injury in warm-ups.
He may not be 100 percent when the Ravens come to town, but Bush expects to play, according to ESPN.
Hey Jamison, which is more dangerous: An 80 percent Bush or a 100 percent backup in Joique Bell?
"Elusive backs like Bush give the Ravens a lot of problems," says Hensley.
In the video below, Schlereth breaks down how effective Bush can be against Baltimore.
- @Ravens: The #Ravens currently don't have any leading vote getters for the Pro Bowl. VOTE NOW! [Twitter |BaltimoreRavens.com]
- “[W]here are the votes for [the Ravens]?" asked Hensley. "To be fair, the Ravens haven't had standout seasons from many of their players. But it's a significant snub that returner Jacoby Jones, guard Marshal Yanda and inside linebacker Daryl Smith aren't in the top 10 in voting. Also, I thought four-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata would be in the top 10 based on reputation alone. The most surprising part of the Pro Bowl balloting for the Ravens is the lack of votes for Tucker, who has made 27 straight field goals -- the longest active streak in the league. Tucker is eighth among kickers with 58,639 votes. New England's Stephen Gostkowski is first with 177,009 votes." [ESPN]
- "I thought I saw a teardrop come down from your eye after that [Vikings game]," retired Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo said to Harbaugh. "No, you were mistaken," Harbaugh replied. "You were definitely mistaken. There's no crying in football, you know that." [FoxSports.com]
- Flacco was asked about throwing to an undrafted rookie like Marlon Brown in a critical spot like he did with the game on the line Sunday. His response: "I'm not thinking back there, 'Who is in this position? Can I trust this guy?' If I was thinking that, if that was going through my head, I'd have all the confidence in the world and he'd be a guy that I'd pick out. He is a great football player. He has got a lot of things going for him, and he's getting better and better each week." [The Baltimore Sun]
- @NestorAparicio* *WNST]: I've said it a lot this year but Joe Flacco has become an [incredibly insightful interview from fan/media standpoint. Always worth listening! [Twitter]
- More on why the Ravens-Patriots were flexed out of primetime ... it was motivated by an "obscure contract term." [ProFootballTalk.com]