In a post-game showdown, tensions flared between Falcons coach Arthur Smith and Saints coach Dennis Allen following a controversial touchdown by the Saints. The dispute arose when Saints running back Jamaal Williams scored a touchdown during garbage time, with the team lined up in victory formation with 1:10 remaining in the game.
While Allen offered an apology for the unconventional play, Saints quarterback Jameis Winston, who orchestrated the move, hinted that he and his teammates went rogue and acted independently when deciding to score on the 1-yard line, and declared he has no regrets.
“It was a team decision,” Winston asserted. “We know how much Jamaal means to this team. And I understood from D.A.’s perspective, D.A. didn’t condone that at all, but we decided as a team to do it.”
While Smith was upset during the meeting with Allen at midfield, he maintained a diplomatic stance when discussing the incident with reporters, acknowledging that there are no rules against such actions.
“They can do whatever they want. There are no rules against it,” Smith said. “We didn’t stop them the second half, and they can do whatever they want. It is what it is. Hats off to them. They kicked our you-know-what in the second half.”
Falcons veteran Calais Campbell voiced his objection not to going for the score but to the appearance of lining up in a victory formation. “I wish they would have lined up in run formation,” he said. “Don’t look like you’re going to take a knee and then run the ball. … I was just frustrated with that because I just feel like there was a way to do it, if you’re gonna do it.”
Both New Orleans and Atlanta are set to miss the playoffs, with both coaches, Allen and Smith, facing uncertain job security.