Buffalo Bills: Josh Norman, Dean Marlowe brings Thieves Ave. to Buffalo

Josh Norman, Buffalo Bills (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
Josh Norman, Buffalo Bills (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) /

Josh Norman and Dean Marlowe bring Thieves Avenue to the Buffalo Bills in Week 17.

The connection between the Buffalo Bills and Carolina Panthers is well-documented since Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane took over prior to the 2017 season. On Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, that connection was on full display as Josh Norman and Dean Marlowe brought back Thieves Avenue.

During the 2015 season, the Carolina Panthers created Thieves Avenue, which was a nickname given to the secondary by Eric Washington, who was defensive line coach at the time for the Panthers (and is currently defensive line coach for the Bills).

Washington explains how the nickname came to be which was as simple as Washington saying “Thieves on three” and Josh Norman took that nickname and ran with it.

That 2015 season was special for the Panthers as they went 15-1 and earned a trip to the Super Bowl, which they ultimately lost to the Denver Broncos. One of the reasons they made that run was because of their defense and their ability to force turnovers. That season they led the league in interceptions with 24.

This past weekend against the Miami Dolphins was a bit of a flashback to that season as it was two Panthers from that 2015 team that made some of the biggest plays of the game. The Bills forced three interceptions with Josh Norman making one of those interceptions, which he returned for a touchdown, and Dean Marlowe accounting for two.

The Buffalo Bills have really improved in forcing turnovers as of late and finished the year third in the NFL in takeaways with 26, including 10 in the past six games. They also have started turning those takeaways into points with the Bills scoring three defensive touchdowns in the past four weeks.

Next. Report card for the Buffalo Bills in Week 17. dark

As Eric Washington said in describing Thieves Avenue, it is a mentality and it appears it is something the Buffalo Bills defense has entering the playoffs.