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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