Falcons' Trueblood sort of sorry for late hit

Although Jeremy Trueblood knew he was wrong for throwing a punch at New Orleans Saints defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, the Atlanta Falcons right tackle complained about no penalty being called on Hicks as well.

Trueblood was flagged 15 yards for unnecessary roughness in the second quarter of Thursday night's 17-13 loss; a penalty that set the Falcons back after a 12-yard pass play from Matt Ryan to Jason Snelling. Hicks obviously was upset with the force Trueblood used to block Saints outside linebacker Junior Galette to the ground on the screen play.

"I was just blocking to the whistle and [Hicks] didn’t like it, came over and gave me a big shove," Trueblood said. "I thought it was a little bit of an unnecessary shove. Don’t understand why he doesn’t get in trouble for coming over there and shoving me for no reason and the whistle had already been blown, obviously.

"I made a stupid mistake and took a swing at him. Actually, it was more of a slap. But it is what it is. It’s always the second guy."

Falcons coach Mike Smith wasn’t pleased with Trueblood’s penalty.

"Can’t have those type of penalties," Smith said. "That was a positive [screen] play; a very productive run. And usually the second guy is the guy who gets caught. He was the second guy. When they throw a flag, it’s a penalty.

"We can’t take a swing at a guy after the play is over. That’s a personal foul and a 15-yard penalty. It was very costly to our team at that point in time."

Smith was asked if Trueblood’s aggressive retaliation was an aspect maybe the team needed, considered how some have questioned the Falcons’ toughness.

"Look, the guys in that locker room, they’re a bunch of tough guys," Smith said. "They play in the National Football League. And they go out and they compete every single day.

"I’m sure we weren’t watching what the so-called experts were saying before the game. And this is a physical sport that we play. And we go out and compete every week. We haven’t gotten the outcomes that we want, but there’s no question about the character and the toughness of that football team."

Trueblood should expect a fine next week, although teammate Roddy White was not fined for slapping Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman in Week 10, according to NFL records.