While the attention was all on his individual rematch with Odell Beckham Jr., Josh Norman was focused on grabbing a division victory over the Giants on Sunday. That's exactly what happened.
Josh Norman wasn't out to prove his individual worth or get into the head of New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. on Sunday.
For the All-Pro cornerback, it was all about getting a win and his Washington Redskins got just that, coming out on top by a final of 29-27 in a battle that came down to the final minute of the game at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford N.J.
"I dressed nicely to come here and get a 'W,'" Norman – who wore a nicely pressed and perfectly fitting burgundy suit to his postgame press conference – said. "I think everybody has their opinions, what this is, what that is, but at the end of the day it really doesn't matter when you come out victorious and you can get on the bus and get on the plane and talk to your guys and cut up a little bit."
Norman and Beckham Jr., of course, shared quite a few physical exchanges the last time they shared the field, as they combined for multiple personal foul calls while the Giants wide receiver sat out the next game with a suspension.
Some thought there'd be a repeat of that situation on Sunday, but the officiating crew made it clear to both players pregame that they wanted to see a clean game.
"[They] came and pulled me off to the side and him saying that we're not going to make a mockery of the game—wow, that surprised me," Norman admitted. "That was the word I was looking for actually. 'A mockery of the game.' I don't know if that was from up top or if that's him directly saying it to me. … That was a big word, but at the same time I appreciate the officials for you know, they really did a good job of controlling the game. It didn't get out of hand."
Norman and Beckham Jr. quietly went to work opposite of each other, as the Coastal Carolina product followed the 2014 first-round pick wherever he went on the field.
Beckham Jr. would catch seven passes for 121 yards, mostly coming in the second half, but Norman held him out of the end zone. Beckham Jr.'s frustrations boiled over on the sidelines, which was caught on camera during a television break, but the two had a quick postgame word and hug before going to their respective locker rooms.
Check out the top images from the Washington Redskins' defense and special teams in their 2016 Week 3 matchup against the New York Giants Sept. 25, 2016, at MetLife Stadium.
"It was a game of will and determination against the other opponents will and determination and it was a game," Norman said. "We had fun in it. He makes plays, I made my plays and we got a team win. That's what it was. The Washington Redskins against the New York Giants. And we got a win. I think everybody came in, I've been hearing chatter here, I've been hearing chatter there and the New York Giants defense talking, 'We don't get any respect we don't get any show, everybody's talking about Josh and this Odell matchup.' But they had their chance and I guess our offense and special teams did their job with them. And we came out and we got a victory in a hostile environment."
While Norman continues to impress in the starting lineup, leading the secondary, he'll likely have a few new faces in the defensive backfield with him this week when the Redskins take on the Cleveland Browns at FedExField.
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden confirmed on Monday that safety DeAngelo Hall suffered a torn ACL, while fellow starting cornerback Bashaud Breeland is week-to-week with strained tendons in his right ankle.
Washington has the depth to overcome the injuries, though.
"Next man up mentality. I think everybody is here for a reason," Norman said. "The scouts do their job bringing guys in and the GM making those decisions and they do an awesome job. As you see they came in, they made plays. [Quinton] Dunbar came in; one-hand interception. One hand interception. One-handed interception. And the ball went back to our offense. Su'a Cravens, the rookie. Playing like a dog making that play at the end of the game. Silly. Game over, night-night, go to sleep. I don't know what much more you want me to say. Guys on our football team on the defense come in and executed the game plan flawlessly."