The Vikings pulled off one of the most stunning plays in NFL history Sunday, as Case Keenum connected with Stefon Diggs for a walk-off 61-yard touchdown to give Minnesota a 29-24 win over the Saints.
“The Vikings basically pulled out a miracle,” former NFL MVP and Super Bowl champion Joe Theismann said on The DA Show. “I jumped out of my seat yesterday. I literally jumped out of my seat. So many of the different clips I’ve seen from people from Minnesota have done the same thing. They went crazy. It was an unbelievable experience for them, to be able to now play in the NFC Championship game and maybe have a chance to host a Super Bowl.”
The Vikings trailed the Saints, 24-23, with 10 seconds to go when Keenum dropped back from his own 39 and found Diggs at New Orleans’ 34. Diggs should have been tackled immediately.
Saints safety Marcus Williams completely whiffed on the tackle, and Diggs raced 34 yards untouched for the game-winning score.
It was a gut-wrenching blunder for the second-round pick out of Utah – and there’s no telling how his Saints teammates will view him in the future.
“I think different guys will handle it a different way,” Theismann said. “A lot of it has to do with how he handles it. If you look around the National Football League, safeties and corners don’t tackle. They try and body-block people. So this is a guy that basically did what he’s been doing, trying to body-block somebody. He’s a young man who just didn’t understand what the situation was. That’s the thing I can assume. But it’s a tough locker room to be in. So often you hear coaches say one play doesn’t make a difference in a game. Well, yes it does. And in this case, one play did make the difference in the game.”
Theismann knows from experience.
“I threw an interception in a Super Bowl before the end of the half that basically gave the Raiders a 21-3 advantage instead of a 14-3 advantage,” Theismann said, referring to Washington 38-9 loss in Super Bowl XVIII in January 1984. “So I understand the pain that you go through. It never goes away.”
The Saints trailed Minnesota 17-0 at halftime but scored 24 of the next 30 points to take a one-point lead. It appeared that Drew Brees, who turned 39 Monday, was heading back to the NFC Championship for the first time since January 2010.
Instead, his season is over.
And Williams, 21, will take the blame.
“Is he going to be back as a New Orleans Saint next year?” Theismann asked. “There’s a lot of questions that revolve around the young man. With social media today, how tough is it going to be for him? Is he going to be able to go out to dinner? How’s he going to be able to conduct his personal life? That’s the impact of sports on us as individuals. I think it’s going to take some real mental toughness to press through this whole thing for him. In the locker room, there’s going to be resentment. There’s going to be a lack of understanding. There’s going to be empathy. Every emotion you can think of will be experienced in that locker room.”