Saints’ Jimmy Graham defends Jameis Winston after controversial touchdown vs. Falcons: ‘We all take responsibility’

Saints quarterback Jameis Winston has come under fire for changing a victory formation kneel-down into a late rushing touchdown for Jamaal Williams. One of his teammates is coming to his defense.

Veteran tight end Jimmy Graham told the critics of Winston to “get off [his] back.” He praised Winston as the “best teammate I’ve ever had” and said all the Saints take responsibility for the rushing touchdown that prompted the now-former Falcons coach Arthur Smith to blow up at Saints coach Dennis Allen.

“[Winston] loves this city, this game and embodies everything you can ask for in a leader,” Graham wrote on X (formally Twitter). “Was a rare situation and we all take responsibility. Nobody thought it would get blown out of proportion. Also f— the falcons.”

MORE: Reporter ‘respectfully disagrees’ with Winston over Saints’ touchdown decision

The Saints, leading 41-17 with 1:10 left, had just begun a drive at the Falcons’ 1-yard line after an interception by Tyrann Mathieu was returned a yard shy of the end zone. New Orleans came onto the field in the victory formation, but wound up handing the ball to Williams, surprising the Falcons defense as he powered into the end zone.

Smith was irate at Allen after the game, saying the touchdown was “f— b—.” Allen explained the touchdown was not a play call by the team and said the call was to kneel it out. Winston said he apologized to Allen for changing the play call, but noted it was a team decision to get Williams his first touchdown of the 2023 season in the campaign’s waning moments.

MORE: Allen, Smith butt heads over late touchdown

“I explained to [Allen] that it was a team decision,” Winston said after the game. “I asked the guys, I said, ‘Guys, what do you want to do? We know what Jamaal means to this team.’ … [Allen] didn’t condone that at all, he didn’t. However, we decided as a team to do it.”

Winston’s decision to change the play call from Allen has become controversial, with some calling him out for changing Allen’s play call and opting to score a touchdown, while others have praised Winston for looking out for his teammate.

Graham is one of the most experienced Saints on the team. He began his career in New Orleans playing alongside Drew Brees under Sean Payton from 2010 to 2014. He then spent seven years away, playing for the Seahawks, Packers and Bears, before returning to the Saints for 2023.


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