Sometimes, you just need a miracle. You only have 25 seconds left to win the game? No problem. The game was gone; done and won (and lost), just like that.
Gone In 25 Seconds! That’s how fast the lead left the hands of the New Orleans Saints. Drew Brees had just led his team to a potential game winning field goal to make the score 24-23 with just 25 ticks remaining on the clock. And what can you do with 25 seconds? Just ask Minnesota’s NFC Championship Game bound quarterback Case Keenum.
Talk about a stunner. The glory of this victory was nearly overshadowed by the agony and misery of the defeat. Keenum and Minnesota won, then lost and then won this game all over again. And Drew Brees lost, won, and then lost it for good. It was one for the ages. How could this have happened? Why did it happen? And when it happened, all watching, victors and vanquished alike, were asking “What just happened?”
If you didn’t see it, you missed an overwhelming and awe-inspiring, crushing and humiliating, fantastic finish. It was delightful and demoralizing, delirious and deleterious, depending on which color jersey you were wearing. The Vikings won on the final play of the game. With the clock winding down and the Vikings out of timeouts, Case Keenum found wide receiver Stefon Diggs for a 61-yard touchdown as the clock struck zeros.
It’s being called the Miracle In Minnesota. Keenum had the ball in his hands in the final moments and orchestrated a major miracle. Keenum threw a pin-point pass to Diggs, who came down with it behind the New Orleans secondary, stayed on his feet and stayed in bounds, then streaked into the end zone as the Vikes stayed in the hunt for that elusive Super Bowl title. Diggs finished the game with six receptions for 137 yards, with his late snag on Sunday launching him into Vikings lore.
Minnesota jumped out to a 17-0 lead early in the game on a pair of rushing touchdowns by their running back tandem of Jerick McKinnon and Latavius Murray. The two combined for 84 yards on 27 carries, outrushing the dynamic Saints duo of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara.
Drew Brees was a maestro for New Orleans, orchestrating a second half comeback with three touchdown passes. New Orleans had taken a 24-23 lead with less than a minute to play as Wil Lutz drilled a 43-yard field goal to put the team ahead, erasing a 17-0 deficit. There were four lead changes in the final four minutes alone, with the Vikings having the ball.
The Vikings move on to play the Philadelphia Eagles next weekend in the NFC Championship Game. The winner will move on the Super Bowl to face either the New England Patriots or Jacksonville Jaguars.
But you all know who you should be rooting for, right?