The Minnesota Vikings were in purgatory. They were losing 24-23 to the New Orleans Saints, and quarterback Case Keenum was backed up at his own 41-yard line with just 10 seconds left on the clock. It was too far for a Hail Mary. With no timeouts remaining, hitting a receiver to set up a field goal would require a trapeze-perfect pass-and-catch, and even that might not have been enough. The game was as good as over.
And then this happened.
The circumstances of this game-winning play mean that Stefon Diggs’ 61-yard touchdown will be called a miracle, and Case Keenum’s Wikipedia page was immediately updated after the final whistle to reflect this.
As far as cause-and-effect is concerned, however, the play really came down to human error. Saints rookie safety Marcus Williams misjudged his angle and completely whiffed on Diggs, giving the Vikings receiver a clear path to the end zone. It’s going to be a long offseason for Williams, though he should take solace in knowing that the average NFL fan is empathetic, level-headed, and blessed with a short memory. (For the love of God, please stay off social media, Marcus.)
A crazy, game-winning play is funny in that it can make you forget about everything that had led up to it. The Vikings blew a 17-0 lead! The Saints’ punter played a big chunk of the game with possibly broken ribs! Sean Payton is still challenging plays!
All of those events, like the Saints’ season as a whole, fell victim to Diggs’ touchdown. The Vikings, seemingly always on the wrong end of a playoff miracle, finally flipped the script. Soak it in.