Norman outbattles Beckham as Panthers stay unbeaten

Lions Panthers FootballFormer Coastal Carolina University standout and rising NFL star Josh Norman got more than his share of airtime in the Carolina Panthers’ 38-35 victory over the New York Giants to remain undefeated, but not for the reasons he had hoped.

Norman was involved in numerous clashes with Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who somehow ejection Sunday during a temper tantrum that turned physical, if not embarrassing. Beckham was flagged three times for personal fouls and Norman twice as the highly anticipated head-to-head battle of stars escalated to the point of multiple physical confrontations.

“I hope I pulled back the mask on who he really is,” Norman said. “Players like that don’t need to be in the game.”

The battle came to a head in the second half. Beckham flew around the corner and launched himself at Norman with a helmet-to-helmet. That action drew another personal foul on Beckham, who is all but assured a hefty fine this week. Norman called for Beckham to be tossed Sunday and called for the league to review the film.

“It’s fine if he wants to dance and prance around like a ballerina,” said Norman, “but he shouldn’t try to be something he’s not.”

Beckham was calmer following the game, refusing to be drawn into a war of words.

“It’s unfortunate we lost,” he said. “You’re out there competing against one of the best teams in the league, an undefeated team. Anyone who has a passion for football is going to go as hard as they can.”

Norman held Beckham without a catch in the first half, answering the taunts by forming a zero with his hands as the Panthers (14-0) built a 35-7 lead. Beckham caught six passes for 76 yards, including the game-tying touchdown catch that saw him step over a complaining Norman, who was calling for an offensive interference call.

But Cam Newton calmly led the Panthers down the field in the final 2 minutes, scrambling to set up Graham Gano’s game-winning field goal as time expired.

Photo courtesy of Carolina Panthers

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