Next Gen Stats: Cam Newton foils Norman’s revenge

Josh Norman‘s revenge against the Carolina Panthers was spoiled as his Washington Redskins fell 26-15 at home on Monday night. The Pro Bowl cornerback made it known that he was looking forward to squaring off with the team that unceremoniously rescinded the franchise tag from him in the offseason. Unfortunately for Norman, Cam Newton turned in a vintage performance reminiscent of the games he linked together at the end of 2015 en route to earning league MVP honors.

While Newton’s team got the better of Washington, it wasn’t as if Norman lost the duel, as the talking heads will surely try to spin it. If there is anyone who knows what kind of game-changer Norman can be, it’s the quarterback who practiced against him for years in Carolina. Newton’s approach largely avoided throwing into his old mate’s coverage, focusing on other areas of the Redskins‘ defense.

Cam Newton only targeted a receiver in Norman’s coverage on five of his 37 pass attempts. The cornerback gave up 32 yards on three catches, including a pair of first downs, but only allowed a 78.8 passer rating.

A deep-ball pass deflection in the third quarter that easily could have been intercepted by Norman was a reminder of just how treacherous it can be to throw against the All-Pro cornerback. Ted Ginn had a slight step on Norman with 1.95 yards of separation as he crossed Washington’s opposing 10-yard line. Yet, by the time the two had reached the end zone, Norman had closed on the receiver and gained inside leverage, narrowing the gap to just 1.06 yards of separation. The pass hit Norman in the hands but he just missed securing the interception.

One of the mismatches that Newton looked to exploit was Ginn as a deep threat. Despite having a largely quiet first half of the season, Ginn has re-emerged as the main wide receiver in the Panthers‘ offense. His deep-game prowess has been a huge factor in the last five weeks.

Ginn scored on a 30-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter after Donte Whitner blew a coverage where Norman expected his assistance. It was Ginn’s…