Stefon Diggs looked back once—then twice—before accepting reality. No one was going to catch him. Still running, Diggs thrust the ball forward with his right hand, towards the end zone and the thousands of Vikings fans beyond it. His 61-yard touchdown, aided by Saints safety Marcus Williams's whiff, put Minnesota up 29-24 with no time left on the clock. After crossing into the purple, he stuck his arms out wide to receive a state's stunned jubilation. Then he tossed his helmet skyward because, well, because who knew what was going on at that point.
"I still don't know what just happened, I really don't," Diggs said soon after. "Damn that s--- feel good!
It was a mad end to a disorienting weekend (outside of New England at least). Julio Jones and Matt Ryan proved unable to knock out Nick Foles. Blake Bortles and the Jaguars outscored Ben Roethlisberger's Steelers. Two underdogs won, and the Saints were oh-so-close to being the third to do so in 48 hours. That's the game that will be remembered, with four lead changes in the final 3:01 and a last play for the ages.
VIKINGS 29, SAINTS 24: Though it feels like eons ago, Minnesota actually dominated this game in the first half; the Saints were shut out in the first half for just the fifth time in the Drew Brees era. Two consecutive touchdown drives by New Orleans cut the deficit to three, and then a deflected punt in the fourth quarter set up a go-ahead touchdown catch by Alvin Kamara. Following field goals by both teams, Case Keenum was left with just 25 seconds. Minnesota had a roughly 4% chance of victory when he dropped back on the final play from his own 39 yard-line.
JAGUARS 45, STEELERS 42: Pittsburgh managed a franchise playoff record 545 yards of offense but Roethlisberger turned the ball over twice (including a fumble returned for a touchdown) and the Steelers failed to convert on fourth-and-1 twice. On the other side, Bortles played a clean (14-of-26, 214 yards, one touchdown) game, and Leonard Fournette ran for 109 yards plus three touchdowns. Down seven with 2:18 to play, Mike Tomlin called for an onside kick—which failed—a decision that will be debated on local talk radio for quite some time. "We hadn't stopped them convincingly enough to take any other approach in my opinion," he said after the game.
PATRIOTS 35, TITANS 14: Recapping this game for us, Jonathan Jones spent two of his three thoughts on officiating conspiracy theories and the broadcast's play-by-play team. That tells you everything you need to know. Tennessee actually scored first, but three second-quarter touchdowns gave New England a comfortable advantage it would hold on to en route to securing a seventh straight AFC title game ticket.
EAGLES 15, FALCONS 10: There are two situations for which wearing a dog mask is acceptable: Halloween, and when you pull off a playoff upset as a home underdog. Atlanta had a chance to knock Philadelphia out, but it slipped away when Ryan's pass to Jones flew through the receiver's hands on fourth-and-goal with a minute to play.
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LATER TODAY: Andy Benoit provides an extra point on the weekend's action ... Conor Orr will be tracking the day's news ... and more. Stay tuned.
WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED: Albert Breer surveyed the coaching carousel going into the weekend ... Haitian players responded to President Donald Trump's reported s---hole comments, Vrentas made a punting story really interesting ... and more.
1. It's time for Chicago to get to know Matt Nagy, so Colleen Kane visited Manheim, Pa., a borough in Pennsylvania Dutch country, population: 5,000. Kane came back with stories of Nagy's high school days, of how he comes from a family of teachers, and—most remarkably—how a Bears fan convinced Nagy to give up a career selling real estate in order to chase his dream of coaching football.
2. Cue the music: Brian Daboll is coming home. After growing up in West Seneca, N.Y., the former Patriots and University of Alabama assistant has been hired as Bills offensive coordinator.
3. Ben Roethlisberger plans to return to the Steelers next season. Yet somehow I still feel like there is more drama to come in Pittsburgh.
4. Staying in Western Pennsylvania, Ken Belson tells the story of Mike Webster's family in The New York Times. Fifteen years after the former Steelers center died and became the first NFL player diagnosed with CTE, his wife and children are still hoping to receive money from the league's concussion settlement with retired players.
5. Future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgeraldsays he'll decide whether to continue playing after the Cardinals pick a new head coach.
6. Among other changes in Cleveland, former Bengals OC Ken Zampese has joined the Browns staff as quarterbacks coach (quarterback TBD).
7. For the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jeff Schultz argues that offseason decisions sunk the Falcons, and not just the Steve Sarkisian hiring.
8. 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster, a 2017 first-round pick, was arrested Friday on marijuana possession charges in Alabama.
9. It's time to get to know Case Keenum. And now there's a Player's Tribune essay to help do just that.
10. If Jon Gruden wanted to tamp down Oakland expectations, hiring Tom Cable seems to have done just that.
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