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Matt Elam seals Ravens win with late interception

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Elam put the game away after exchanging words during the week with Calvin Johnson.

Matt Elam tackles Reggie Bush for a loss in the third quarter.
Matt Elam tackles Reggie Bush for a loss in the third quarter.
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

In a way, it seemed like a fitting end for Baltimore's 18-16 win over Detroit.

After calling Calvin Johnson "pretty old" during the week, Elam ended Monday's game with an interception with under a minute left.

After Ray Rice ran for a first down and fell down intentionally, the game was over.

Elam had a rough week as a rookie, though it was self-inflicted. By giving Johnson, the NFL's best receiver, some bulletin board material, he experienced what it's truly like to make a verbal mistake in front of the media. But Elam and the Ravens came away with a hard-fought victory by limiting the Lions' offense to just 16 points and 349 yards.

After a shaky start, Elam seemed to settle in with a defense that forced three interceptions from quarterback Matthew Stafford. The Lions could never establish a rhythm in front of the home crowd, with the secondary locking up the wideouts throughout.

Elam needed a big showing after making a comment like the one he made. In addition to the interception, he led the Ravens with 10 total tackles and added a pass deflection.

The rookie looked spry and ready to play. Though he had 98 yards, Johnson had a couple of bad drops and could not haul in a two-point conversion he'd usually make.

Once the clock struck triple-zeros, it was apparent Elam, the rookie, would get the last laugh.