The stakes are high for this Monday night’s game featuring the Ravens (7-6) and the Lions (7-6), as the Ravens are trying to stay alive in their division race, while also trying to hold onto the last wildcard spot in the AFC. Meanwhile, the Lions are tied for the NFC North division lead with the Bears and the Packers are only a half game back at 6-6-1. Whichever team loses will be in a tough spot heading into their final two games. There is already plenty on the line for these two teams.
In games of these magnitude there is no need to find extra motivation. Ravens rookie safety Matt Elam gave the Lions and their best player a little added motivation for this week’s game. When asked about the Lions star wide receiver Calvin Johnson, Elam said, “He’s pretty old, so I don’t know how physical he’ll be. 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.” What is the most baffling thing, besides the fact he had the courage to call out the best receiver in the game, is that Johnson is only 6 years older than the rookie safety. Johnson is, in fact, in his prime and coming off a career year last season. Johnson, 28, isn’t even 30 years old yet. I just don’t understand where Elam is coming from. Is he watching this week’s tape of the Lions and seeing the impact Johnson is still having?
This is not to say that this now gives the Lions an edge in the game at all, because that would be a farfetched statement. The fact of the matter is that a rookie made a rookie mistake and gave the Lions some bulletin board material. It won’t determine the outcome of Monday’s game, but it certainly won’t go unnoticed. Johnson doesn’t need any extra motivation for this game, but there is no doubt someone passed along this quote to him in the locker room and he is going to go out of his way to make sure he shows that he isn’t “old”. It will be interesting to see Elam and Johnson’s interaction, if any, come Monday.