The context is the stuff of kids draw up in the backyard. Ten seconds left in the NFC Divisional Playoff game with the Saints up 24-23. Vikings, playing at home, have the ball on their own 39. Minnesota quarterback Case Keenum takes the snap, drops back, and launches the ball to Diggs on the right side.
The team’s original goal, they said later, was to get within field goal range and get out of bounds to stop the clock. But after Diggs caught the pass things when sideways for New Orleans.
Saints free safety Marcus Williams missed the tackle. Not only that, he ended up clearing out nearby Saints defenders who could have possibly ran Diggs down. Once he realized that, Diggs sprinted to the end zone for a 61-yard walk-off touchdown.
It was one of the most improbable reversals of fortune. The Vikings had pulled ahead with only 1:29 seconds left in the game, but Drew Brees ripped that away with an incredible 50-yard drive. That ended with a Saints field goal that put the team up by a point. The Vikings seemed done for. Then the miracle happened.
“It’s a moment that I can’t even describe,” Diggs said, breaking down the play later. “…In a split second, we went from so low, everyone was down, to — just like that — smiles, happy.”
There was no joy on the other side of the field. Saints fans voted the game was the worst loss in team history.
Though the Vikings’ joys would be short-lived as well. That’s because they’d go on to lose the next week in the NFC Championship game to the eventual Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.
Things didn’t end well for Stefon Diggs in Minneapolis. He demanded a trade the next season. He’s with the Bills now. He hopes to bring some of that magic to their playoff game on Saturday against the Baltimore Ravens.