Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman had his worst game of the season Sunday in Seattle. Well, statistically.
Norman had just two tackles, and for the first time this season, he finished without a pass breakup. Of course, it's tough to make a play on the ball when it's rarely thrown your way.
According to Pro Football Focus, the Seahawks targeted Norman twice. According to Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, it was less than that.
"One time on a screen," McDermott said Monday with a smirk.
That play came midway through the first quarter when Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson hit tight end Jimmy Graham four yards behind the line of scrimmage. There were more extracurriculars than yards gained:
"They wanted to see if [Norman] could tackle," McDermott said.
"If you've got a player that's hot and that plays well, they're going to go after him, but they're going to go after him in calculated ways. And they did that yesterday with the screen and Josh showed up."
Even though McDermott didn't count it as a target against, Norman made a similar play early in the third quarter, cutting down receiver Doug Baldwin for a loss of two:
Norman filled highlight reels the first month of the season when, as he's described it, quarterbacks have disrespected him by throwing his way. Seattle's Russell Wilson apparently held Norman in a higher regard.
"He was the smartest quarterback we've played so far this year because of that," Norman quipped.
Last season, some Panthers started calling Norman a shut-down corner. But until Sunday, no quarterback had almost completely avoided throwing his way. It won't show up on SportsCenter, but it was another step in Norman's rise.
"Shoot, if he can take away half the field, then that's on them," McDermott said.
There was a time when quarterbacks would avoid Richard Sherman's side of the field. But according to Pro Football Focus, the Seahawks cornerback on Sunday allowed three receptions for 51 yards against four targets from Carolina's Cam Newton.
When asked which players he's coached that forced offenses to operate like Seattle did, McDermott mentioned former Eagles Asante Samuel, Troy Vincent, Bobby Taylor and Al Harris.
And does McDermott like when one side of the field is essentially ignored?
"Yeah, I do," he said, smirking again.