Up big and in victory formation at the 1-yard line against the Atlanta Falcons, the New Orleans Saints did not need to push the ball into the end zone to secure a needed win in the final game of the year. Yet, Jameis Winston and the Saints offense did just that, faking the victory formation to give Jamaal Williams the ball and his first and only touchdown of 2023.
New Orleans would win 48-17, doing their part of the final week to keep playoff hopes alive. They saw those hopes dashed by the two games they needed to go their way later in the afternoon.
The final play which featured the pile-it-on touchdown was not taken well by Arthur Smith, the head coach of the Falcons who has since been fired. Smith was coaching for his job, so getting the score run up unnecessarily was not in his best interest.
Smith came at Saints coach Dennis Allen after the game shouting. After the game, Allen curiously took the Falcons side, splitting the locker room in the final game and appearing to condemn the decision Jameis Winston and the Saints offense made.
Well, Winston's comments about the play prove one thing: There was never even anything to get upset about here. All that drama for nothing.
Jameis Winston reveals Saints told Falcons what was coming on final touchdown
Speaking to the Pardon My Take podcast, Winston spoke on the infamous play. He said he regretted running the play out of victory formation due to how disrespectful it ended up looking, but said the Falcons knew the Saints weren't taking a knee out of the formation:
"The defense knew. They asked us, are we taking a knee? My right guard, Cesar [Ruiz] he's like, 'We not taking a knee'... So they were prepared."
This makes one thing clear: The Falcons have nothing, nothing to complain about. You weren't fooled, you were outplayed.
But it makes another thing extremely loud: The Saints players have no respect for this coaching staff. If the Falcons knew the Saints weren't taking a knee, the only reason the Saints would still line up into victory is to keep Dennis Allen from being surprised at the play call and calling a timeout, spoiling the setup for the Williams touchdown.
Think about that. The only reason the Saints went victory was to fool it's own head coach.
Yet, Allen remains the questioned leader of this team.