Did Sean Payton Trip Referee Clete Blakeman After Loss To Falcons?

Atlanta Falcons middle linebacker Deion Jones hits New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara on Thursday night

Atlanta Falcons middle linebacker Deion Jones hits New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara on Thursday night

Payton's frustrations during the game carried over to Friday when he expanded on his issues with the officials during a teleconference.

Payton later told reporters he didn't recall making the gesture. Of Atlanta's 26 first downs, nine came by penalty. "I think it's been a problem all year, it's something that's going to have to be addressed from a leadership standpoint at the top in our league office". Rather than kick the game-tying field-goal and play for overtime, Payton chose to go for it.

The Saints followed Bryant's field goal by marching to the Atlanta 11, but on second and 10, Deion Jones intercepted Drew Brees in the end zone with 1:25 left.

"I called a timeout, and then he asked me again, and I said I have already called a timeout", Payton said after the game.

Payton was flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty late in the fourth quarter for screaming at an official, which gave the Falcons a first down and essentially ended the game. "He ain't where I'm from", said Freeman, who grew up in Miami. "I probably said it with a little more oomph or vigor than I was supposed to, but I had enough. I gotta be smarter than that", Payton said.

Payton said Friday that he had not heard from the league office about any further sanctions.

The NFL could fine Payton for his action Thursday night.

Even the Saints' star on offense could have had a bigger game if not for the officiating, Payton said. New Orleans held a 17-10 lead at the time, but four plays later, Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan threw an eight-yard touchdown pass to Mohamed Sanu to tie things up. "We have to get him more touches, but he was impressive". He leads the Saints in receiving with 75 catches and 875 yards, but he only has three touchdown receptions.

Michael Thomas finally broke his seven-game streak without a touchdown in the New Orleans Saints' Week 13 win over the Carolina Panthers. New Orleans hosts Atlanta in a rematch on December 24.

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