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Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Norman's side of game-winning TD

By David Newton

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera didn't sound convinced that cornerback Josh Norman never got the signal for a switch on Buffalo's game-winning touchdown with two seconds left on Sunday.

In case you missed it, nickelback D.J. Moore signaled Norman to switch on a rub rout. Norman didn't, and rookie quarterback EJ Manuel found a wide-open Stevie Johnson in the left side of the end zone.

Final score: Buffalo 24, Carolina 23.

Here's what Norman had to say about it.

"Oh, no,'' he said when asked if he heard the call. "We were both in man. It was just a combo call where me and the nickel switch positions, switch off guys. I never looked inside. I was locked in. I was zoned in. He gave a call and he expected me to do something.

"We've just got to be more on the same page. We will next time. It just sucks that it had to come down to that."

Here was Rivera's take.

"Apparently, Josh Norman didn't play it,'' Rivera said of the switch. "It's a critical situation. You get a communication. ... You'd like to believe when the call is made you execute the call and you're in position to make the play."

Told Norman said he didn't hear the switch, Rivera said: "That's something we're going to get to the bottom of.  That's something that most certainly will be discussed.''

Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said Moore definitely made the call.

"I [saw] him give Josh a combo call,'' he said. "I don't know that Josh ever [saw] it. He did call it. Just miscommunication on their part.''

Carolina's bigger concern with Norman is his health. With starting corner Josh Thomas possibly out this week against the pass-happy but winless New York Giants, the Panthers could use him.

But Norman suffered a sprained MCL on his right knee and a deep thigh bruise on his right leg. He was in extreme pain on Monday and doesn't know what his status will be.

"We'll see Wednesday,'' Norman said.

It would be another blow to a secondary that already will be without starting free safety Charles Godfrey, who suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in the loss, and possibly without starting strong safety Quintin Mikell (ankle).

"I don't know what we're going to do right now,'' said Munnerlyn, the only member of the starting secondary not injured. "Kind of lost. Hopefully, we'll know by Wednesday.''