BUFFALO, N.Y. [WKBW] — When the Bills needed a big defensive play, cornerback Josh Norman was the man to step up. In his first-ever game with the Bills, just 24 hours after he was activated to the 53-man roster, Norman made the play that changed the game.
With just under 13 minutes to play in the fourth quarter, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr had his team marching down the field with a chance to tie the game. Then Norman did what he's done so many times in his career -- he punched loose a ball, forcing a fumble and giving the Bills the spark they needed.
"Coach was actually saying, someone, make a play, someone make a play, and I was like, you know what, I’ll make a play,” Norman said after the game. “I had a whole T.O. mindset in that thing. Those guys they’re all hungry and ready to go out there and make something happen and I’m glad we did.”
Josh Norman with the forced fumble and recovery in his first game with the @BuffaloBills! #BillsMafia @J_No24— NFL (@NFL) October 4, 2020
📺: #BUFvsLV on CBS
📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app: https://t.co/024EzSafTB pic.twitter.com/INDJqWjEvO
It happened on a 2nd and 11 completion from Carr to Raiders tight end Darren Waller, who was wrapped up by Bills safety Jordan Poyer. As Waller was falling to the ground, Norman lunged towards him, throwing his left fist into the nose of the football, forcing it to the ground. After a second untouched, Norman crawled towards the ball and scooped it up, giving the Bills their first turnover of the day.
“It kind of sparked the defense,” Micah Hyde added. “I think we’re a resilient defensive group, we’re never really getting down on ourselves, we always move on to the next drive and try to go out there and make something happen and that’s what coach told us at halftime, just continue to work, continue to pound away."
“I’m happy to see him get healthy and get out there and get in the position to make plays for us," wide receiver Cole Beasley added. "He definitely made some plays for us today and I don’t know if we win the game without him.”
For Norman, the timing of his big moment was poetic. Norman came into the game to replace an injured Levi Wallace, who left with an ankle injury. At first, Norman struggled a bit and admitted after the game he was rustier than he anticipated. But as the game moved along, he started to feel more comfortable and confident.
“Finally, I was able to make something happen for our ball club. That’s literally what I always wanted to do when I first got here. Destiny is all I want. We still have some more games to go but right now we’ve got a nice little cushion so we just need to keep going forward with it and seeing what we can do.”
Norman was placed on injured reserve after suffering a hamstring injury two days before the Bills' first game of the season. He said watching his teammates play from the press box was difficult but it made him that much more motivated to perform once he was called upon.
“I’m super glad to be back out here with these guys and I don’t think there’s a better group than this team I’m on right now.”