There’s no sugarcoating it (unless you’re Pro Football Focus and “forget” to mention the penalty yardage he surrendered): Josh Norman had a poor performance on Sunday against the Bengals.
A.J. Green — guarded by Norman for virtually the entire game, minus a couple of plays in which the cornerback took a break on the sideline — had a field day against the Redskins’ $75 million-dollar corner, catching five passes for 76 yards in Norman’s coverage. He also drew five penalties against the corner — some of which weren’t even accepted because Green was able to make the catch despite pass interference or being poked in the face. Green finished Sunday with his fourth 100-yard game of the season, which saw nine catches and 121 yards. But despite the monster effort from the receiver, Cincinnati ended Sunday with an overtime draw with Washington.
On several occasions, the cornerback seemed rattled. There were a few memorable moments in which he was audibly complaining about calls on the field:
"HIS FOOT WAS OUT OF BOUNDS" -A very rattled Josh Norman https://t.co/3ylDdy0bGP— Connor Howe (@HoweNFL) October 30, 2016
Norman went off on officials in his postgame press conference, specifically calling out one specific official, Brad Freeman:
"Who is official eighty-eight? I've gotta know," an ‘exasperated and flabbergasted’ Norman said at the podium, per CSN Mid Atlantic. "You suck. I'm just being honest with you. I'm just being straight forward. He was terrible and I feel like he should be reprimanded.”
"I'm baffled by it, I really am,” Norman continued. “I just feel like they really need to sit down and look at that because the plays out there that was going on, I have never had seven flags on me in my entire life and I feel like he coulda had more than that. Every time he (Andy Dalton) threw the ball I feel like there was gonna be a flag."
Had Norman focused his energy on intercepting passes coming his way rather than on keeping track of which officials were performing up to his standards, perhaps he could’ve had a better game.
We kid with Norman, but he really is a talented player capable of taking over a game. Green’s performance on Sunday is a testament to the receiver’s ability to beat any corner in the NFL and command double-teams from every team he faces.
But despite another huge performance, the receiver remained humble. When asked by ESPN’s Kat Terrell on whether things got chippy between he and Norman, he smirked and had this to say:
"It was not getting chippy. I was fine. Whether he was talking to the refs, or whatever he was doing, I was out there playing my game."
As The Big Lead suggests, the NFL will probably look further into Sunday’s actions from Norman, but not for the reasons the cornerback would like. His comments — criticizing not just the officials as a unit but Brad Freeman as an individual — will likely cost the defensive back a sizeable portion of his game check.