The 27-27 with the Cincinnati Bengals in London left mixed feelings for the Washington Redskins. Feisty cornerback Josh Norman made his feelings about suspect officiating rather clear after the game.
Washington was flagged for 15 penalties for 106 yards, while the Bengals were only called for seven infractions for 85 yards. Matched up with A.J. Green, Norman was flagged five times alone, four for hands to the face and one for pass interference. He held court postgame and let loose on one specific official.
"Who is 88? I got to know. I just got to know. Who is official 88. He sucked, I'm just going to be honest with you, straightforward. He was terrible and I feel like he should be reprimanded. I feel like there were plays going on out there, I mean it was just terrible to the point where we [Redskins offense] go down the field, Crowder scores. Blatant facemask, blatant. We get touchdown, no call. Now defense we got out there, and on the same sideline, we stop them for a run we get in there and he says held the facemask but there was no evidence of that. It was a scramble [crowd]. How did you see the scramble facemask, but you did not see the blatant one when it was just him?"
Norman was especially displeased with third-year official Brad Freeman, No. 88.
“Third year in the league? Come over here and call, how many calls did he have? Anybody know? Because I am pretty sure he had the majority of them. Him, how? It don’t make any sense.”
Norman continued to give examples of questionable calls from the referees.
“And the flag at the end of the game where Pierre caught a slant, caught a slant route in five yards, got separation from the DB [Adam Jones], we were in field goal range. Flag, coming back. So, was that the only, first offensive pass interference we had all game? I need to know. Because I don't think Cinci had one of them called.”
The Washington defensive back was puzzled by the fact that he was repeatedly called for illegal hands to the face when there is a double standard for receivers.
"I just feel like they need to sit down and look at that because the plays out there that's going on, I have never in my life had seven flags on me. I feel as if I probably had more than that if you really want to be honest with it. Every time they threw the ball I feel like it is going to be a flag. Ok here you go. Let me not touch the guy, let the guy push off on me but let me not touch him.”
Norman elaborated that the referees were calling the game differently than he is used to and does not understand how he is supposed to adjust.
“If you had to see the game, there was a lot of that going on but like I said I'm not them. I just play the game. I play it all the way, physicality that's how we play it, old school football. They know we do this. We come over here in the international game and it seems like Jesus, threw everything out the window. What do we do? Five-yard penalty. Hands to the face, hands to the face, hands to the face, but yet every time I touched him he knocked my hand up into him. But I'm telling him, but they are still calling it. How do you play like that?"
Norman went on to say that he is going to speak up for his teammates when they feel like they are not getting a fair shake. He will probably be fined for speaking his mind, but will probably say it was well worth it.
"I'm baffled so much to the point where all our teammates are feeling like that, I speak on it. It is what it is."
"This is how I feel and how the team feels right now. Speaking on their behalf, this is how I feel about it and they need to watching them and reprimanding. They reprimand us, what is the reprimand for them? Crazy."
One could put the blame on Dustin Hopkins or Jay Gruden or any number of players, but Norman advises against it. In fact, Norman strongly disagrees with anyone who blames the non-victory on Hopkins for missing a 34-yard field with 2:13 remaining in overtime.
“If anybody wants to go at Tress [probably means Dustin Hopkins] for missing those field goals, you suck. … Things come up short sometimes, they really do. If you are putting this game on him, you’re terrible for it. And I just want you to know that, this is a team game, myself included. With all the defensive guys, offense and special teams, it’s one unit not one guy and we all try to do our best in our individual game. Things come up short, just got to make an extra play. Dagnabit, I just feel bad. Ties whatever, just feels like we lost.”
Follow Neil on Twitter @NeilDalal96.
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