Vikings dump Saints on last-play shocker, Jaguars advance
WASHINGTON – Agence France-Presse
Case Keenum connected with Stefon Diggs on a desperation game-winning 61-yard touchdown pass on Jan. 14’s final play, giving the Minnesota Vikings a dramatic 29-24 NFL playoff victory over New Orleans.
Minnesota advanced in astonishing fashion to play the Eagles in Philadelphia in next weekend’s National Conference final. If they win, the Vikings will become the first team to play the Super Bowl in its home stadium.
Jacksonville stunned host Pittsburgh 45-42 in Jan. 14’s other NFL playoff game, sending the Jaguars to defending champion New England in next Sunday’s American Conference final, but that upset was overshadowed by one of the most shocking finishes in NFL history.
With New Orleans leading 24-23 and only 10 seconds to play, Keenum hurled a pass to the right sideline and Diggs leaped high to grab it.
When Saints defender Marcus Williams missed the tackle, diving past Diggs, the receiver turned and raced unchallenged into the end zone as the final seconds ticked away.
“They count us out all the time. Nobody thinks we could do it,” Diggs said. “Everybody thought it was over. I don’t stop playing until there are all zeroes on the clock.”
Moments after the astounding touchdown play, Keenum could only marvel at the miracle.
“I can’t even explain it,” Keenum said. “We were definitely in a desperation moment. [Diggs] made a heck of a play. That was one of the most special moments of my life.
“I don’t even know what just happened. It’s crazy. I have no words.”
At Pittsburgh, Jacksonville rookie Leonard Fournette ran for 109 yards and three touchdowns to put the Jaguars in defending champion New England’s path.
“It’s going to be another fight. It’s crazy,” Fournette said. “As a unit we came together. We kept pushing each and every play.”
Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger, who threw a career-high five interceptions in an October loss to the Jaguars, completed 37-of-58 passes for a Steelers post-season record 469 yards and five touchdowns but it was not enough.