The Falcons nearly choked late in Thursday’s game against the Saints, but a Deion Jones interception bailed the team out and they emerged victorious with a 20-17 win over their division rival.
Saints head coach Sean Payton apparently did the best he could to try to get in his opponents’ heads, though, as he was seen doing a choke gesture on the sideline in the fourth quarter of the game. Payton appeared to put his hand on his throat and then mouthed “choke,” which you can see in these photos from Jeff Duncan of NOLA.com below.
Falcons running back Devonta Freeman confirmed that he saw Payton do the choke gesture in speaking to reporters after the game, and added that it was directed at him.
“I saw it,” Freeman said, via Jeff Schultz of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “That man don’t know nothing about choking. He ain’t from where I’m from. He’s a good competitor so the competin’ probably came out. But you don’t let that bother you.He don’t know nothing about chokin’.”
A video clip that has since gone viral seems to validate Freeman’s claim.
The Falcons got the last laugh, though, as it was the Saints that choked late with Jones’ interception in the end zone. They now trail the Saints by only one game for the division lead, and will meet again in Week 16.