That's at least the impression he gave off Monday night, after the Falcons stood by idly while the Saints whipped them up and down the field and Drew Brees set an NFL record right in front of their faces.
Rather than actually do something about it, the Falcons wanted the Saints to just lie down for them at the end of the game to save them from further embarrassment — as if the 38-16 score leading into that final drive wasn't humiliating enough.
"No need for that," a player too scared to go on record told CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco. "It came on our watch, but it didn't have to come that way. We won't forget it."
You won't forget it?! Oh, man! If only you could have had an opportunity to actually prevent it from happening, then you wouldn't have to be saddled with that memory.
"That's just who they are," that anonymous (read: gutless) player said. "We'll see them down the road. We won't forget any of it."
That's great. If the Falcons are so unfortunate to face the Saints again in the playoffs, that one, whiny Falcons player won't forget getting his butt whooped on national television … while the Saints are once again whooping his butt on national television.
Admittedly, the scene in New Orleans was a bit odd. Brees was lifted onto the shoulders of his offensive linemen in celebration, and that group was seen posing for a photo together on the sideline when the game was still going on. ESPN also showed an artist on the sideline making an oil painting of the record-setting pass. It was a bit weird, and football teams absolutely should use such events as motivation. But not publicly. And certainly not anonymously. That one player can make the whole team look bad by a few whiny sentences.
Even back in 2007, when the Patriots were winning games 52-7 one week and 56-10 the next, you didn't hear complaints coming from the opposing locker room. Those players were no doubt miffed, but that has to stay internal. Otherwise, you look like a bunch of namby-pambies.
The Falcons who were willing to go on the record were not willing to say much, with Dunta Robinson and William Moore telling him that Sean Payton never explained why he did what he did, as the head coach told the media he had.
Regardless, any players who want to feel upset with Payton, Brees and the Saints should probably follow the leader of their coach.
"I'm not going to comment on that in terms of running up the score," Mike Smith said after the 45-16 loss. "It's our job to go out there and stop them. It doesn't matter if they are running the ball or throwing the ball. The job of our defense is to go out and stop them. Again, my hat is off to Drew Brees."
Smith, smart enough to know how public comments were perceived, only placed blame on his team.
"It's not the type of effort," he said, "that you want to have with so much on the line with what the outcome could have meant to our team."
The Falcons — at least that one, unidentified player — continued losing after the game, too, and it's that type of attitude that will no doubt fuel them to another one-and-done showing in the playoffs this January.
Let's just hope it's at the Superdome. It'll give the Falcons something else they'll never forget.
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