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Saints HC Dennis Allen after offense gets Jamaal Williams TD in victory formation: 'I wanted to take a knee'

There's certainly no love lost between the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons after Sunday's regular-season finale.

With the victory well in hand, New Orleans lined up in victory formation 1 yard away from the end zone, giving every appearance that they'd take the honorable route and kneel out the game.

Instead, Saints backup quarterback Jameis Winston handed off to Jamaal Williams, who plunged into the end zone to extend the lead to 48-17 with 1:10 remaining following the extra point.

Falcons head coach Arthur Smith appeared incensed during his postgame meeting with Saints head coach Dennis Allen and offered a piece of his mind in lieu of the traditional handshake.

"We should've taken a knee right there," Allen admitted to reporters following the win. "They (the offense) asked me about getting Jamaal a touchdown at the end. I said I wanted to take a knee. We put victory out there and the guys kind of wanted to get him a touchdown, and they did that on their own. That's not acceptable."

Williams, who came over to New Orleans (9-8) after leading the NFL with 17 rushing TDs for Detroit in 2022, had yet to find the end zone in 2023.

Asked about Smith clearly being upset in the aftermath, Allen shared the sentiment of his opposing head coach.

"He should be," Allen said. "He should be."

New Orleans' extraneous score came at the end of a second half that was all Saints.

Including that TD, Allen's crew scored five times over the last two quarters to turn a 17-17 halftime score into 31-point blowout. Although the Saints missed out on an NFC South title due to the Buccaneers taking care of business against the Panthers, they kept themselves momentarily alive for a wild-card spot.

It didn't pan out, but the victorious Saints went into Sunday's second set of games needing losses from both the Packers and Seahawks to sneak in as a No. 7 seed.

The Falcons (7-10) had no window left at all. They were eliminated with the defeat, and after such a demoralizing half to conclude the season with four losses in their last five, the Williams play was a pile-on on multiple levels.

"Nobody wants to end the season like that, but credit to them," Smith said. "They made the plays certainly in the second half. Got out of hand. You can do whatever you want. I just gave him my opinion about it, but it doesn't take away the fact that they beat us and in that second half, they took advantage of our turnovers, and they hit some shots."

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