- The Minnesota Vikings pulled off a 29-24 win over the New Orleans Saints with a touchdown catch and run from Stefon Diggs as time expired.
- The play was made possible when Saints safety Marcus Williams tried to deliver a big hit on Diggs and missed him entirely, leaving Diggs with an open field.
- Afterward, Williams reportedly cried over his blunder.
The Minnesota Vikings advanced to the NFC Championship on Sunday with a miracle pass, catch, and touchdown from Case Keenum and Stefon Diggs to secure a 29-24 win over the New Orleans Saints.
And while Keenum and Diggs’ heroics are rightly being celebrated, the Saints may wish they could have that play back because of a big defensive mistake by safety Marcus Williams.
As Diggs went up to catch Keenum’s deep ball along the sideline, Williams appeared to go for a big hit to keep Diggs from catching the ball or to force him to stay in-bounds.
Instead, Williams missed Diggs entirely, and Diggs pulled the ball down with nobody behind him. From there, it was off to the races.
Here was the play:
During the replay, Troy Aikman said of Williams: “I’m not sure really what he’s thinking, Joe. He comes in, he’s got [Diggs] dialed in, and all he’s gotta do is make a play. And even if he catches it, you tackle him in-bounds, the game is over.”
Aikman even remarked that Diggs likely thought he was going to get hit on the play.
From the sounds of it, Williams, who had a strong rookie season, took it hard afterward.
#saints Rookie safety Marcus Williams feel to his knees on his way to locker room after his missed tackle cost saints the game and then inside the locker cried with his head in his hands.
— Alex Flanagan (@Alex_Flanagan) January 15, 2018
Several in the NFL world offered support for Williams, including for Saints safety Steve Gleason.
Marcus Williams had a spectacular rookie season, and could have a stellar career. He was trying to make the right decision and not interfere. As a competitor, I'm sure he's crushed. I invite Nola to be encouraging and supportive as well as we move on.
— Steve Gleason (@TeamGleason) January 15, 2018
— Justin Forsett (@JForsett) January 15, 2018
Keep your head up young fella (Marcus Williams). This one will hurt but you’ll learn from it and bounce back! Hell of season Rook!
— Antoine Bethea (@ABethea41) January 15, 2018
It will likely be a tough play for Williams to live down. But it also shows the thin line between a win and a loss – if Williams had made the tackle, the Saints would likely be in the NFC Championship.