Engaged in a tough battle with Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor Sr. throughout Sunday's game, Redskins cornerback Josh Norman adjusted in the second to get a clutch interception.
Josh Norman's first interception as a member of the Washington Redskins couldn't have come at a better time.
After Washington jumped out to an early 14-0 lead on the Cleveland Browns in their Week 4 matchup on Sunday, the Redskins would eventually fall behind in the second half and struggled at times to get much going offensively.
After the Redskins took back the lead early in the fourth quarter at 24-20, the Browns got the ball on their own two-yard line with a little more than seven minutes left in the game. With their running game clicking through most of the afternoon, the Browns could have slowly maneuvered up the field for a potentially game-winning score.
Instead on 2nd-and-2 from the Browns' 10-yard line, Norman dove in front of a pass intended for wide receiver Terrelle Pryor Sr. to give the Redskins the ball back. Four plays later, Matt Jones punched in a one-yard touchdown to extend the Redskins' lead to 31-20.
"I was figuring him out the whole first half," Norman said of Pryor Sr., who had five catches for 47 yards and a touchdown in the first half. "I was not getting frustrated with myself but not really getting down either, but I know my opportunity is about to come. I know it's coming, I know it's coming, and when that time comes just got to make sure you execute. I came out at halftime in a whole different place."
At 6-foot-5, Pryor Sr. is not an easy player to take down. As the game wore on Norman had to "play strong through all that he was doing." He did just that.
"Second half I went to a dark place, like shut him down, lock him down," Norman said. "Feet in the ground and just play your game, man. Don't worry about nothing else. Coach called this, called that. Execute flawlessly. I did, I saw the play coming, I knew it kind of going through the film study of what he likes to do, and as soon as I did, just saw my moment and captured it."
Norman also made sure that Pryor Sr. early production in the game wasn't replicated down the stretch.
"That one time you get lax, I'm going to strike," Norman said. "We're going to strike on the ball because I see certain things that come up through the game that I recite and I remember to the point where I'm like 'Ok, if you're right here on this hash and coming here you're going to do the same route again.' I kind of pick up on certain stuff. So I think I really scout me before [and] look at how I'm used. I switch stuff up so I don't keep it the same. And when that thing comes, make a play."
Norman has been everything the Redskins could have hoped for so far since joining the team as a free agent in April. Through the first quarter of the regular season, the 2015 All-Pro has collected 23 tackles along with an interception and a fumble forced.
He'll likely continue to face the opposition's No. 1 wide receiver throughout the season. That means two former Carolina Panthers, Norman and Steve Smith Sr., both of whom aren't shy of telling the competition just how good they are, could be going against each other next Sunday in Baltimore when the Redskins take on the Ravens.
So just how quickly will Norman turn his attention away from the Browns and onto the Ravens?
"I get my mind psyched out for it on Monday for a little bit, and then it's like Tuesday we get here, review what we did on game day like this and get into it on the week of who we're playing," Norman said. "I get my assignment. Coach is like, 'Ok, you've got this number.' I go into it and indulge myself into that player and what he likes to do. I try to be better at it than he is. Sometimes I lose, sometimes I win, so it's kind of one of those things. I already recap on Saturday, Sunday, wake up, let's go get them."