Saints tight end Benjamin Watson on Thursday afternoon downplayed Mark Ingram’s sideline theatrics during Week 1’s season-opening loss at Atlanta, saying it’s part of what occurs on NFL sidelines — albeit more on some teams than others.

“We all get hot-headed and we all get upset during a game,” said Watson, who was one of several Saints that tried to calm or console Ingram, likely upset about his role at that point in Sunday’s game.

“If you were to see the sidelines, what we do and hear what’s going on, it’s a circus. Then 10 minutes after the game, everything is kind of left out. There’s no grudges held. Guys apologize: ‘Man, I can’t believe I said that to you. I was totally out of my mind.’ ”

Ingram was the former, standing about 20 feet away from other teammates, by himself.

He then exploded in the second half for 42 of his 60 yards, including two touchdown runs of 3 yards. The second score, with 1:20 left in regulation, gave the Saints a 34-31 lead.

Ingram is in the final season of his rookie contract, with plans to finally enjoy the kind of rushing campaign he hoped as a former Heisman Trophy winner out of the University of Alabama. Carries, though, are still shared between Ingram, Khiry Robinson, Pierre Thomas and Travaris Cadet.

Against Atlanta, Ingram posted 13 of the running backs’ 26 carries.

“We’re in this together and it’s our job to pick each other up when we’re down,” Watson said, “and bring each other down a little bit when we get too high.”

Ingram did not enter the Saints locker room during Thursday’s media availabiltiy.

Confidence rising

Every week, Saints rookie receiver Brandin Cooks said he becomes more comfortable with his future Hall of Fame quarterback.

It showed early in Sunday’s 37-34 season-opening loss at Atlanta, with Cooks catching three passes from Drew Brees on the offense’s opening drive. Cooks finished with seven catches for 77 yards, including a 3-yard score late in the second quarter.

“I definitely would say we’re ahead of where we were when I first got back from school,” said Cooks, who last year starred at Oregon State. “It’s just a work in progress every day.”

Not that Cooks, the 20th-overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, was pleased with everything he did at the Georgia Dome.

Cooks said he was to blame for Brees’ end zone interception late in the third quarter. On the play, cornerback Robert McClain was in much better position to make the play than Cooks, on his outside.

“It was a good ball,” Cooks said. “I have to make sure I get back to it. I’ve got to have better reaction ... He put it in the window. It’s my job to go get it.”

For a good cause

Saints coach Sean Payton explained why he decided this week to buy 100 NFL jerseys of defensive tackle Devin Still, the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad player whose 4-year-old daughter is diagnosed with pediatric cancer.

One hundred percent of Still’s jersey sales are going to pediatric cancer research.

“It was something that was kind of spontaneous,” Payton said. “I had heard about him on the radio and the challenge he is going through. So when I got into the office the other day I just mentioned it to Jason (Mitchell), ‘Look, let’s do something.’ ”

Payton added that the jerseys will be distributed at a hospital.

Dodging questions

For the second time in as many days, Payton rebuffed media questions about NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence investigation, falling back on this week’s opponent.

“Our focus really has been on Cleveland,” Payton said. “(Wednesday) I said it, and I’ll say it again today.”

Asked if it felt good that people are coming to his defense — Goodell’s mishandling of Rice’s case appears to be hypercritical when compared to his Bountygate findings that ignorance was not a suitable defense — Payton stayed focused on the Browns.

“It’s immaterial, in other words we said at the time what we had to say and I’ll leave it at that,” he said. “ Again, our work and focus right now is on this upcoming game.”