Arthur Smith took issue with the New Orleans Saints’ decision to run up the score in the final minute of their Week 18 game at Caesars Superdome on Sunday. But Smith, who took out his frustration on Saints head coach Dennis Allen immediately after the final whistle, should have been irritated with Jameis Winston.

After the Saints earned a 48-17 victory over the Falcons, Winston told reporters he and the offense decided to run a play on first-and-goal from Atlanta’s 1-yard line with 1:10 remaining in the blowout verdict.

Winston audibled Allen’s victory formation play-call to a run for Jamaal Williams. Winston and the Saints wanted to reward Williams with a touchdown, his first of the season.

Winston’s explanation of the decision is rather comical.

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“Well, I apologize to DA (Dennis Allen) because the play was ‘Victory.’ But I also explain to DA that it was a team decision,” Winston told reporters, per WVUE-TV’s Garland Gillen. “And I think when you have team morale, I asked the guys like, ‘Guys, what do you want to do?’ We know how much Jamaal means to this team and I understood from DA’s perspective, so I give him that. But DA didn’t condone that at all. He didn’t. However, we decided as a team to do it.”

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Allen, in this case, clearly is not viewed as part of the “team.”

“We had an interception to the 1-yard line. If we were to score, would it still have been disrespectful?” Winston continued. “However, when you return the ball to the 1-yard line, you have the opportunity. We just had the opportunity and we decided.”

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Winston added: “I think it should be forgotten, especially when the score is already 41-17. I don’t know how much worse it can get. But I got a ton of respect for Arthur Smith and the coach that he is. I think they do some incredible things. I did not mean to, I did not want to disrespect anything. That was not my intention. My intention was to lead the team that I’ve been with the entire year and we made a collective decision that we wanted to get one of our guys, who they fight with blood, sweat and tears every game, in the end zone. And I’m going to feel good about that.”

Winston was met with some push-back from at least one reporter he spoke with after the game. The reporter told Winston that given Allen’s play-call was a kneel-down, he “respectfully disagreed” with Winston’s decision to audible.

As for Smith and the Falcons, Atlanta missed the NFL playoffs after concluding with a losing record for the third straight year. It prompted Falcons owner Arthur Smith to fire Smith on Sunday night.

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Atlanta reportedly is interested in longtime Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, should Belichick depart New England this offseason.

Featured image via Stephen Lew/USA TODAY Sports Images