Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers ‘stat-sheet stunner’ Josh Norman torn on whether to bat ball down

Green Bay Packers wide receiver James Jones leverages a pass away from Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman on fourth and 14 in the fourth quarter, keeping a Packers drive alive.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver James Jones leverages a pass away from Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman on fourth and 14 in the fourth quarter, keeping a Packers drive alive. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Josh Norman almost had his fifth interception of the season Sunday afternoon, but instead it became a drive-continuing fourth down play that Green Bay would eventually score on.

On Monday, Carolina defensive coordinator Sean McDermott said he would have liked to see the ball batted down in that instance rather than Norman going for the interception. Norman said he knows that’s the right thing to do, but he couldn’t tell himself that during the game.

Me right now, speaking to you outside of that, yes, I’d probably bat it down. But me inside those lines, no.

Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman

“Yeah, they would have liked me to bat it down but me in that situation, and the player I am, nah. I’m a stat-sheet stunner. Stat-sheet stunner, baby,” Norman said. “I like to go for those big-time plays and end the game. Yeah, I guess those situations come up and you want to bat it down but like I said, I know myself on that football field is going for the gusto.

“That’s how I play. That’s just my makeup. I know I make that play 10 times out of 10. Gosh I was beating myself up.”

With five minutes left in the game and the Panthers up two scores, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers dodged a blitz and hoisted up a prayer on fourth-and-14 from the Packers’ 44. An incompletion would have killed the drive just like an interception, but Norman went for the pick.

Slightly out of position and getting a bad jump off the ground, Norman got a hand on the pass but was out-leveraged by Green Bay receiver James Jones, who corralled the 36-yard pass and got the Packers to the 20.

“Me right now, speaking to you outside of that, yes, I’d probably bat it down,” Norman told the media Monday. “But me inside those lines, no.”

Norman hasn’t had an interception since the Week 4 game at Tampa Bay. He also hasn’t had many opportunities. Opposing quarterbacks – Russell Wilson, Sam Bradford, Andrew Luck and Aaron Rodgers – have thrown at receivers covered by Norman a combined 13 times in the past four weeks.

They have connected just five times for 78 yards. Norman has broken up four of the eight passes that went incomplete.

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