Conference Championships Set
A season can come down to one play, as NFL television analysts repeated endlessly through the weekend’s divisional games. And no one who saw the end of the Minnesota Vikings’ 29-24 victory Sunday over the New Orleans Saints will ever forget that (especially Saints fans).
Having blown a 17-0 lead at home, the Vikings were hoping in the waning seconds to get in position for a field goal try. Quarterback Case Keenum threw to Stefon Diggs near the right sideline and Saints defensive back Marcus Williams simply whiffed as he hurled his body at Diggs and hit nothing. Diggs danced his way into the end zone as time expired and the Vikings were on their way to NFC championship game in Philadelphia. The Eagles staved off the Atlanta Falcons 15-10 on Saturday – again, saving the season on a goal-line stand at the 2-yard line.
The big stunner was Jacksonville’s 45-42 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. The Steelers could never seem to stop the Jaguars on third down and the Jags’ punishing ground attack carried them into the AFC title game against the New England Patriots, who mashed the Tennessee Titans 35-14 on Saturday night. The Steelers never sacked Jags QB Blake Bortles and allowed 164 rushing yards.
Quick note to the NFL: Please teach your officials what a catch is, what a touchdown is, what a turnover is. And what a penalty is (or isn’t). This is getting ridiculous. The officials spend as much time watching the game on TV as the home audience.
ELSEWHERE: The longtime voice of college football, Keith Jackson, died Friday night at the age of 89. … Patton Kizzire won the Sony Open golf tournament in Honolulu in a playoff. … In college basketball, No. 3 Virginia beat North Carolina State 68-51 on Sunday. No. 1 Villanova beat St. John’s 78-71 on Saturday and will hold on to that top ranking in the Monday AP poll. Virginia should move up after No. 2 West Virginia lost 72-71 to No. 8 Texas Tech, ending the Mountaineers’ 15-game winning streak.
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