FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. The irony could not have been more apparent.
About six minutes after New Orleans Saints defensive end Akiem Hicks went unpenalized for a blow to the head on quarterback Matt Ryan in the second quarter, Falcons right tackle Jeremy Trueblood received an unnecessary roughness call for a blow to Hicks' head.
The call wiped out a 12-yard gain that would have given the Falcons a first down at the Saints' 47.
Instead, Atlanta was sent back to the its own 38. The drive eventually stalled out at the Saints' 6 and ended with a 24-yard field goal in a game in which the Falcons ultimately lost, 17-13.
A day later, head coach Mike Smith was not amused by Trueblood's penalty. Smith pointed out that it's often the player who retaliates who ends up getting flagged.
"Yes, you want to see a guy sticking up for his teammates, but we can't take a swing at a guy after the play is over," Smith said on Friday. "That's a personal foul and a 15-year-old penalty. It was very costly ...