Minneapolis Miracle

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Minneapolis Miracle
US Bank Stadium - West Facade.jpg
U.S. Bank Stadium, the site of the game.
1 2 3 4 Total
NO 0 0 7 17 24
MIN 10 7 0 12 29
Date January 14, 2018
Stadium U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Favorite Vikings by 5.5
Referee Gene Steratore
Attendance 66,612
TV in the United States
Network Fox
Announcers Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews and Chris Myers

The Minneapolis Miracle[1][2] (also known as the Minnesota Miracle)[3][4] was the final play of the National Football Conference (NFC) divisional playoff game between the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints on January 14, 2018. The game was played as part of the National Football League (NFL)'s 2017–18 playoffs.[5] The Vikings defeated the Saints 29–24 on a last-second 61-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Case Keenum to wide receiver Stefon Diggs.[6] The play meant the game was the first NFL playoff game to end in a touchdown as time expired.[7]

Game summary

The Vikings took a 17–0 lead in the first half on touchdowns by running backs Jerick McKinnon and Latavius Murray, as well as a field goal by former Saints kicker Kai Forbath.[8] The Minnesota defense constricted the New Orleans offense, forcing Saints quarterback Drew Brees to throw two interceptions and not allowing a single third-down conversion during the first half.[9] The Saints had not been shut out in the first half of a game in over three years.[10]

However, the Saints recovered during the second half. Brees threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Michael Thomas, with 1:18 remaining in the third quarter, to reduce the deficit to 17–7.[11] After Case Keenum threw an interception to Saints safety Marcus Williams, Brees threw a three-yard touchdown pass to Thomas early in the fourth quarter to bring New Orleans within three. The Vikings responded with a 49-yard field goal by Forbath to increase their lead to 20–14.[6]

With 3:01 left in the fourth quarter, the Saints took their first lead of the game, 21–20, on a 14-yard pass from Brees to running back Alvin Kamara on a wheel route.[12][13] Forbath nailed a 53-yard field goal with 1:29 left in the game to give Minnesota a 23–21 lead.[12][14] Brees responded by leading the Saints down the field in just 64 seconds, allowing Wil Lutz to make a 43-yard field goal to take a 24–23 lead with 25 seconds remaining.[15][16] Following the field goal, Saints coach Sean Payton mocked the Minnesota home crowd by imitating the Vikings fans' "Skol" clap.[17][18]

After a false start penalty by the Vikings, Keenum threw a completed pass to Diggs to their own 39-yard line, then threw two straight incompletions to set up a third-and-10 with 10 seconds remaining in regulation.[19][20]

The play

External video
Sound FX: Diggs' Walkoff TD
Keenum/Diggs Walkoff Touchdown

With 10 seconds left at their own 39-yard line, the Vikings ran a play titled "Buffalo Right, Seven Heaven."[19][21] Keenum took a shotgun snap with running back Jerick McKinnon to his left. Kyle Rudolph, the tight end, ran an out route underneath near the right sideline, while wide receiver Adam Thielen ran a comeback route near the left sideline. Wide receivers Jarius Wright and Stefon Diggs ran corner routes, or "seven" routes, to the right sideline.[21] The offensive line and McKinnon, who was an extra blocker for this play, were able to block the four Saints pass rushers.[19] Keenum was able to set his feet and throw a pass to Diggs near the right sideline, who caught the ball at the Saints’ 34-yard line.[21]

Because Keenum's pass was slightly high, Diggs had to leap into the air to make the catch. Attempting to make a diving tackle on the airborne Diggs, Saints' free safety Marcus Williams instead missed the Vikings' receiver and collided with cornerback Ken Crawley, knocking Crawley over and preventing him from having a chance to tackle Diggs. Upon returning to the ground, Diggs stumbled slightly but managed to regain his balance and stay in bounds with no Saints players nearby to tackle him. Although the original intent – and Diggs' first instinct[22] – was for him to catch the ball and run out of bounds to set up a field goal attempt,[13][21] Diggs, upon seeing that there were no Saints defenders between him and the end zone, immediately turned upfield and sprinted down the sideline for a touchdown as time expired.[9][16]

Assuming the game was over, broadcast and stadium crew packed the field, and most Saints players left for the locker room.[23] Eventually, both teams returned for the mandated conversion attempt. Only eight players – punter Thomas Morstead, wide receiver Austin Carr, defensive lineman Cameron Jordan, linebackers Manti Te'o and Gerald Hodges, and offensive linemen John Fullington, Josh LeRibeus, and Larry Warford – took the field for the Saints on the final play; only three of them were defensive players.[24] While a 15-yard excessive celebration penalty was to be assessed to Diggs for throwing his helmet, the penalty could only be enforced on a kickoff.[25] Keenum led the stadium in a rendition of the Vikings' "Skol" clap and chant and knelt to end the game on the two-point conversion try.[15][16] The kneel down also meant that the Vikings did not cover the 5.5 point spread.[23][26]

Broadcast calls

The game was broadcast nationally on television by Fox, as well as nationally on Westwood One Radio, and by both teams' radio affiliates.

TV

Joe Buck and Troy Aikman called the game for FOX. Buck's call of the play:

Radio

Westwood One was the national broadcaster for this game, with Kevin Harlan and Trent Green calling the game.[28] Harlan's call of the play:

The reaction from Saints announcers Jim Henderson and color commentator Deuce McAllister:

In Minnesota, the game was broadcast on KFAN, with Paul Allen and Pete Bercich announcing with much more lively.[1] As the Vikings players lined up for what would later be the last play of the game, Allen called:

Paul Allen's call of "Minneapolis Miracle" would later be widely used to refer to the game itself.[2][18][20][31]

Aftermath

Allen's call – which used the term "Minneapolis Miracle" – was characterized by SB Nation writer Harry Lyles Jr. as the "perfect" radio call for the play.[1][32] ESPN Brazilian Portuguese-language broadcaster Romulo Mendonça used the phrase Milagre em Minneapolis ("The Miracle in Minneapolis") during his live commentary.[33]

NFL.com writer Marc Sessler and The Ringer writer Robert Mays, among others, quickly deemed the game an "instant classic", worthy of entry into NFL lore.[34][35] Several commentators described the game as ending the Vikings' history of postseason heartbreak.[6][13][18][36][37] Keenum and Diggs earned widespread praise for their late-game heroics.[13][36][37][38] Joe Buck later told Rich Eisen in an interview: "As far as football, it's probably number one for exciting moments that I've been a part of."[39] Meanwhile, Williams – who earlier intercepted Keenum to help get New Orleans back into the game – had numerous commentators criticizing him for diving at Diggs instead of waiting to tackle him in bounds.[16][18][40] Some compared the mistake to Bill Buckner's infamous fielding error in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.[41][42]

On January 15, the Vikings filed for trademarks on the phrases "Minneapolis Miracle" and "Minnesota Miracle" for use on over 100 items, from football helmets to bathing suits.[43] Additionally, this ended the Saints' season in a similar manner to the way it began, as they also lost to the Vikings in Week 1 at U.S. Bank Stadium in a game in which the Vikings scored 29 points.[44]

With the win, the Vikings headed to Philadelphia to take on the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles beat the Vikings, 38–7, thus denying them the opportunity to become the first Super Bowl host team to play in the game itself.[45] The Eagles went on to win Super Bowl LII, beating the defending champions New England Patriots, 41–33.[46]

At the 7th Annual NFL Honors, the Minneapolis Miracle won the NFL Play of the Year Award.[31] In March 2018, the NFL instituted a new rule that eliminated the need to kneel down following a game-ending touchdown that gives a team the victory.[47] In April 2018, it was announced that Diggs' cleats would be displayed in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.[48]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c Lyles Jr., Harry (January 14, 2018). "The Vikings' radio call of Stefon Diggs' 'Minneapolis miracle' was perfect". SB Nation. Archived from the original on January 15, 2018. 
  2. ^ a b @NFL (January 14, 2018). "The Minneapolis Miracle. #SKOL" (Tweet) – via Twitter. 
  3. ^ Silver, Michael (January 15, 2018). "How Vikings pulled off the 'Minnesota Miracle' and broke a curse". National Football League. Archived from the original on January 15, 2018. 
  4. ^ "Vikings win thanks to 'Minnesota Miracle'". BBC. January 15, 2018. Archived from the original on January 15, 2018. 
  5. ^ "Divisional Round – New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings – January 14th, 2018". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Archived from the original on January 16, 2018. 
  6. ^ a b c Tomasson, Chris (January 14, 2018). "Vikings stun Saints 29–24 with game-ending miracle touchdown". St. Paul Pioneer Press. Archived from the original on January 15, 2018. 
  7. ^ Peters, Craig (January 15, 2018). "3 Stats That Stood Out: Vikings-Saints Divisional". Vikings.com. Archived from the original on January 31, 2018. 
  8. ^ Hall, Brian (January 14, 2018). "Last-second Stefon Diggs touchdown propels Minnesota Vikings to NFC title game". United Press International. Archived from the original on January 31, 2018. 
  9. ^ a b Jones, Lindsay H. (January 14, 2018). "Vikings stun Saints with last-second TD to advance to NFC Championship Game". USA Today. Archived from the original on January 15, 2018. 
  10. ^ Katzenstein, Josh (January 14, 2018). "Saints eliminated by Vikings on stunning final play: Final stats". The Times-Picayune. Archived from the original on January 31, 2018. 
  11. ^ Thomas, Jeanna (January 14, 2018). "Vikings beat the Saints and erased their playoff misery with the most spectacular comeback possible". SB Nation. Archived from the original on January 31, 2018. 
  12. ^ a b Campbell, Dave (January 14, 2018). "Stunner: Case Keenum-Stefon Diggs TD on last play gives Vikings a 29–24 playoff win over the Saints". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on January 15, 2018. 
  13. ^ a b c d Mays, Robert (January 15, 2018). "The Vikings Finally Have Their Forever Moment". The Ringer. Archived from the original on January 31, 2018. 
  14. ^ Busbee, Jay (January 14, 2018). "Minnesota beats New Orleans on miracle last-second play". Yahoo! Sports. Archived from the original on January 15, 2018. 
  15. ^ a b Shpigel, Ben (January 14, 2018). "Vikings Shock Saints on Stefon Diggs's Last-Second Touchdown". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on January 15, 2018. 
  16. ^ a b c d Rohan, Tim (January 14, 2018). "Purple Pandemonium: Vikings stun Saints on walkoff". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on January 15, 2018. 
  17. ^ Brinson, Will (January 16, 2018). "Sean Payton admits mocking Vikings fans with Skol clap, calls it 'good playoff fun'". CBS Sports. Archived from the original on May 23, 2018. 
  18. ^ a b c d Jeff Diamond (January 21, 2018). "What 'Minneapolis Miracle' means for Vikings, NFL playoff history". Sporting News. Archived from the original on May 23, 2018. 
  19. ^ a b c Seifert, Kevin (January 15, 2018). "Inside the play that saved the Vikings' season – and crushed the Saints". ESPN. Archived from the original on January 31, 2018. 
  20. ^ a b Butler, Benjamin (January 19, 2018). "Pandemonium, devastated silence, and then ... the Minneapolis Miracle". MinnPost. Archived from the original on January 31, 2018. 
  21. ^ a b c d King, Peter (January 15, 2018). "'That Play Right There Was God': Diggs, Dings and Dumbfounded Vikings On How They Stunned Saints". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on January 31, 2018. 
  22. ^ Dyer, Kristian (February 8, 2018). "Stefon Diggs will never tire of attention after 'Minneapolis Miracle'". Sporting News. Archived from the original on May 23, 2018. 
  23. ^ a b Gaines, Cork (January 15, 2018). "It took the Vikings 8 minutes to run a meaningless play after their playoff game was decided — but gamblers rejoiced". Business Insider. Archived from the original on January 31, 2018. 
  24. ^ Kyed, Doug (January 14, 2018). "Josh LeRibeus, Thomas Morstead, Austin Carr, John Fullington, Larry Warford, Manti Te'o, Gerald Hodges and Cameron Jordan deserve a lot of credit for being good sports, coming out for the final point after". @DougKyed. Archived from the original on March 1, 2018. 
  25. ^ Florio, Mike (January 15, 2018). "Stefon Diggs' helmet throw would have mattered, only if time was left on the clock". NBC Sports. Archived from the original on January 21, 2018. 
  26. ^ Brady, James (January 14, 2018). "Vikings were forced to snap an extra-point that was meaningless to everybody except gamblers". SB Nation. Archived from the original on January 21, 2018. 
  27. ^ Bucholtz, Andrew (January 14, 2018). "Hear Vikings' radio team's 'Are you kidding me!' call of 'Minneapolis Miracle' finish". Awful Announcing. Archived from the original on January 22, 2018. Retrieved January 21, 2018. 
  28. ^ "NFC Divisional Highlights: Vikings stun Saints on final play". Westwood One Sports. January 14, 2018. Archived from the original on May 23, 2018. 
  29. ^ Jim Henderson; Deuce McAllister (January 14, 2018). Saints' Radio Call of the Stefon Diggs' Unbelievable Miracle Touchdown (YouTube). Highlight Heaven. Archived from the original on January 16, 2018. 
  30. ^ Paul Allen; Pete Bercich (January 14, 2018). Paul Allen's Radio Call of the Minnesota Vikings' Unbelievable Miracle Touchdown vs. Saints (YouTube). Highlight Heaven. Archived from the original on January 16, 2018. 
  31. ^ a b "NFL Names 'Minneapolis Miracle' Play Of The Year". WCCO-TV. February 3, 2018. Archived from the original on May 23, 2018. 
  32. ^ Paul Allen [@PAOnTheMic] (January 14, 2018). "Minneapolis Miracle. That's all I can say. Diggs. From 61. Nobody ever has seen anything like that. I can't breathe. I feel like I can fly. We r off to Philadelphia to play to get into the Super Bowl. #skol" (Tweet) – via Twitter. 
  33. ^ Milagre em Minneapolis! por Rômulo Mendonça – Vikings x Saints 14/01/18. Archived from the original on March 1, 2018. 
  34. ^ Sessler, Marc (January 14, 2018). "Case Keenum on game-winning TD: 'I can't believe it'". NFL.com. Archived from the original on January 15, 2018. 
  35. ^ Robert Mays [@robertmays] (January 14, 2018). "There are worse ways to spend a Sunday evening than taking in an instant classic" (Tweet) – via Twitter. 
  36. ^ a b Svrluga, Barry (January 14, 2018). "Vikings outrun their tortured history, stun Saints with miraculous final play by Stefon Diggs". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Archived from the original on January 15, 2018. 
  37. ^ a b Cronin, Courtney (January 14, 2018). "Curse no more: Case Keenum's desperation heave sends Vikings to NFC title game". ESPN. Archived from the original on January 15, 2018. 
  38. ^ Freeman, Mike (January 14, 2018). "Skol Mary: Case Keenum Keeps Surprises Coming, Delivers a Miracle in Minnesota". Bleacher Report. Archived from the original on January 15, 2018. 
  39. ^ Joe Buck; Rich Eisen (January 15, 2018). FOX Sports' Joe Buck Talks Vikings/Saints & More w/Rich Eisen (YouTube). The Rich Eisen Show. Archived from the original on March 1, 2018. 
  40. ^ Zucker, Joseph (January 14, 2018). "Twitter Explodes for Stefon Diggs' TD After Marcus Williams' Historic Error". Bleacher Report. Archived from the original on January 15, 2018. 
  41. ^ McCarthy, Michael (January 17, 2018). "Was Marcus Williams' whiff the worst mistake in NFL playoff history?". Sporting News. Archived from the original on January 31, 2018. 
  42. ^ Triplett, Mike (January 16, 2018). "Saints' Williams vows not to let play define him". ESPN. Archived from the original on January 31, 2018. 
  43. ^ Darren Rovell (January 19, 2018). "Vikings seek trademarks for 'Minneapolis Miracle' and 'Minnesota Miracle'". ABC News. Archived from the original on January 21, 2018. 
  44. ^ Associated Press (September 12, 2017). "Bradford, Vikings cruise past Saints 29-19 in opener". ESPN. Archived from the original on May 23, 2018. 
  45. ^ Shpigel, Ben (January 21, 2018). "Eagles March Past Vikings to Super Bowl, Just as They Predicted". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on February 1, 2018. 
  46. ^ Shpigel, Ben (February 4, 2018). "At Long Last, the Eagles Capture Their First Super Bowl". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on February 9, 2018. 
  47. ^ Wagner-McGough, Sean (March 28, 2018). "NFL eliminates unnecessary PATs, two-point conversions after walk-off touchdowns". CBS Sports. Archived from the original on May 23, 2018. 
  48. ^ Cann, Harrison (April 24, 2018). "The cleats from Stefon Diggs' Minneapolis Miracle are going to the Hall of Fame". The Diamondback. Archived from the original on May 23, 2018. 

External links

  • Stefon Diggs Makes Miracle Walkoff TD Catch on Last Play, Vikings Win! on YouTube, NFL, January 14, 2018.
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