Josh Norman tackles Thomas Rawls by the arm. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Redskins cornerback Josh Norman made one of the biggest tackles of his team’s season on Sunday, when he dragged down Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls by the arm on a third-and-one run. Seattle was attempting to go ahead in the fourth quarter, and Rawls seemed destined to get a first down until Norman latched on to his left arm and wouldn’t let go. You aren’t supposed to be able to tackle a running back, in space, merely by attaching yourself to his arm.

But Norman said this week that the tackle came out of anger, from a much earlier play when he had been whistled for an illegal horse-collar tackle while Jimmy Graham had a hold of his face mask. (This video contains some naughty language.)

“I will say this: it was a play that happened earlier in the game, where I think they tried grabbing my face mask … and I wasn’t having it,” Norman said Wednesday on 106.7 The Fan’s “Grant and Danny” program. “And I was pissed off after that.”

Host Grant Paulsen pointed out that it was Graham who had grabbed the face mask; “I know who it was,” Norman said. “Trying to keep my nerves down. I don’t want to keep thinking about that, because I’ll kind of go off.

“But I kind of get a little emotional and heated when things like that happen,” Norman went on. “So I kind of took it upon myself, the next time that did happen, I was gonna make somebody pay.”

Wednesday afternoon in the team’s locker room, Norman said the penalty was “a flashback moment” to something that happened during his time in Carolina — “kind of almost the exact same thing, the same sideline in the same area of the sideline.”

That Graham play happened early in the second quarter, and led to a missed field goal by Seattle. Norman was evidently still thinking about it in the fourth quarter, when the Seahawks were trying to drive for a go-ahead score. After a seven-yard pass and a two-yard run, Seattle had third and one at its own 41, and Russell Wilson handed the ball to Rawls.

“So I saw it again, when [Rawls] headed to the outside,” Norman said on the radio show. “And he just put his arm out there, and it looked like some chum meat. So I just went out there and I grabbed it and I wanted to take it off its socket. You know, I really wanted to take his arm off his shoulder, but I couldn’t, because of how the angle was. So I just took it down with me. And I looked and made sure he didn’t get to the first down, and I got up and I was excited, man. I really was. Because I knew that was a big play to stop that drive and get the ball back to our offense so they could just run out that clock.”

That’s not at all what happened: The Redskins’ offense didn’t run out the clock, Seattle scored a go-ahead touchdown, and the Redskins then won the game with a 35-second drive in the final two minutes, which meant that Norman’s play was sort of forgotten. But the tackle — “[I] saw that arm and went to go and do a UFC move, try to take his arm off,” Norman said on the radio — was still remarkable.

“I got to give credit to the defensive line for the penetration,” Norman said Wednesday afternoon. Rawls “tried to hit the gap, and [Terrell McClain] wasn’t having it. He penetrated up the gap and he bounced it. D.J. [Swearinger] came downhill. And I think he missed him, but he ran a little wider to where I saw it and I just went on a speed burst and tried to get to him as fast as I could. [Rawls] put that arm out there and I thought it was another face mask to the ground like Jimmy did earlier, and I just had a flashback. I just wanted to take that arm off with me.”

 

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