Elam sealed the Ravens' 18-16 win at the Detroit Lions on "Monday Night Football" with his first career interception, and in doing so the first-round pick showed his mental toughness.
Some had to wonder how the attention from Elam's comments -- he called Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson "pretty old" -- would affect a young player on the national stage. To make matters worse, Elam had a nightmarish opening drive, in which he was flagged 15 yards for hitting quarterback Matthew Stafford in the helmet and missed a tackle on a 17-yard pass play.
But Elam bounced back and lived up to his words of being physical, finishing with a career-high 10 tackles. In an outcome few would have predicted, Elam made more of an impact than Johnson, who dropped two passes.
"No disrespect to Megatron, I didn't mean it that way," Elam said. "I just feel like it's Monday night, everybody is watching. You're going to give your best game, anyway. It shouldn't be somebody calling somebody out to play a good game. You're going to play a good game anyway because it's Monday night and everybody's watching and you want to win."
Elam added, "He's one of the greatest receivers in the game. I have no disrespect for him. It was just my competitive spirit. I just want to win."
From the looks of Elam's play Monday night, a bad situation has led to positive results. There were many times this season that the rookie disappeared in games. But he handled himself well when playing under the microscope.
And, just like last week, Elam still isn't afraid to speak his mind.
"I just feel like we're destined for greatness," he said.