Stefon Diggs did his best Rod Tidwell impression after scoring a miracle touchdown to give the Minnesota Vikings a 29-24 win over the New Orleans Saints in their NFC divisional playoff game on Sunday.
Diggs caught a pass by the sideline and avoided a tackle to go 61 yards for a touchdown to win the game. Just like everyone else, Diggs was shocked after scoring when it looked like the Vikings’ chances of winning were gone.
The stunned wide receiver then embraced his moment in the spotlight much like Tidwell did in “Jerry Maguire.”
Stefon Diggs listed as doubtful for next week. Reason – Still celebrating. pic.twitter.com/cSQEKgtkYa
— Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) January 15, 2018
— Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) January 15, 2018
That’s a once-in-a-lifetime play by Diggs. He certainly deserved to enjoy his moment.
- Stefon Diggs
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs turned Sunday’s game into a tribute to Kobe Bryant.
With the Los Angeles Lakers poised to retire Bryant’s jersey numbers on Monday, Diggs saw fit to use the weekend as an opportunity to honor the NBA star. First, he wore a pair of custom cleats, nodding to the iconic Lakers gold — and the purple that both Minnesota and Los Angeles share.
The homie @stefondiggs is honoring his favorite player @kobebryant just in time for his number retirement tomorrow night with the custom Bruce Lee Kobe V cleats today. Let’s wrap up the north today. #skol @Vikings pic.twitter.com/TJt1GmTVWY
— Mache Custom Kicks (@MACHE275) December 17, 2017
Diggs wasn’t done there. After scoring a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals, it was time for a full-blown Bryant-themed celebration.
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) December 17, 2017
Diggs and the Vikings probably won’t have Bryant’s support in the NFC playoffs, but he’ll likely appreciate the gesture all the same.
Week 8 started on Thursday night with a blowout win for the Baltimore Ravens. The rest of the week produced games that were closer, with the Houston-Seattle game delivering a particularly awesome ending. The Jaguars had the week off, which means at least one quarterback was spared an embarrassing game. But between special teams, poor rushing attacks, and some quarterbacks, there were plenty of disappointments in the week.
Here’s a look at the biggest disappointments of Week 8.
Detroit Lions’ red zone offense
The Detroit Lions looked incredible on Sunday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers … as long as you don’t count what happened in the red zone. Their offense simply could not deliver in the red zone, and that cost them the game. They took five trips to the red zone and came away with only nine points. They failed to score a touchdown, settled for three field goals, and turned the ball over on downs twice.
They had a first-and-goal from the 10 in the second quarter and ended up kicking a 37-yard field goal. They had a 1st-and-10 from the 16 before halftime and kicked a 34-yard field goal. In the third quarter, they had a 2nd-and-goal from the 1 and got stopped three plays in a row and turned it over on downs. Then they gave up a 98-yard touchdown pass. Then for the second possession in a row they got a 1st-and-goal at the 4 and took the ball to the 1, but this time they took the field goal. After going for the field goal that time, they were down 20-15 on their next trip to the red zone. They were forced to go for it on 4th-and-7 from the 8 and turned it over on downs again.
Detroit’s defense kept them in the game. The red zone offense failed them badly.
Jameis Winston, QB, Buccaneers
Winston would probably be near the top of any list of disappointments of the season, as the third-year quarterback is still making mistakes and failing to correct them despite being surrounded by plenty of weapons. On Sunday, Winston threw two more interceptions, lost a fumble, threw the ball all over the place, and failed to get the ball into the end zone. His Bucs fell to 2-5 with their home loss to the Carolina Panthers. Perhaps his lingering shoulder issue has something to do with his poor performance, but if that’s the case, he shouldn’t be playing — he was not good on Sunday.
Through the first five weeks of the NFL season, some familiar names sit atop the offensive statistical categories. Quarterbacks like Rodgers and Brady lead many passing categories, while receivers like A.J. Green and Antonio Brown top many receiving categories. But there are some fresh faces in the league doing big things, as well as a few surprises emerging with their clubs.
Here’s a look at each NFL team’s best offensive skill player so far in 2017.
Arizona Cardinals — J.J. Nelson, WR
Larry Fitzgerald still has more catches and yardage, but in terms of big plays, it is Nelson who has paced the Cardinals this season. He has the highest yards per catch of any Arizona wide receiver, and his two touchdowns are tied with Fitzgerald for the team lead. It’s only a matter of time before he is the No. 1 receiver in Arizona. Nelson is already getting plaudits now — his five catch, 120 yard performance in Week 2 earned him NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.
Atlanta Falcons — Devonta Freeman, RB
Impressively, Freeman alone has five touchdowns this season — as many as quarterback Matt Ryan has thrown for over the same amount of games. Those five touchdowns are good enough to tie him for the NFL lead with Leonard Fournette of the Jaguars. His yardage total doesn’t jump off the page — at 285 yards, he’s only 13th in the NFL — but he’s scoring touchdowns. That’s been huge for the Falcons in a year where Ryan hasn’t quite rediscovered his best form yet.
- A.J. Green, Aaron Rodgers, Antonio Brown, Cam Newton, Carlos Hyde, Carson Wentz, Charles Clay, Chris Thompson, CJ Anderson, Dak Prescott, DeMarco Murray, Deshaun Watson, DeVante Parker, Devonta Freeman, Drew Brees, Duke Johnson, Eli Manning, Jameis Winston, Jermaine Kearse, JJ Nelson, Jordan Howard, Kareem Hunt, Keenan Allen, Leonard Fournette, Matthew Stafford, Michael Crabtree, Mike Wallace, Russell Wilson, Stefon Diggs, Todd Gurley, Tom Brady
New Orleans Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro will almost certainly be forced to pay a fine for an illegal hit he threw in Monday night’s game against the Minnesota Vikings, but the man on the receiving end of the blow is in no way upset about it.
In fact, Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs is glad Vaccaro hit him high instead of going low.
“I’ll take a head shot any day of the week,” Diggs said on PFT Live Tuesday morning. “Legs are very delicate — injuries happen.
“I didn’t see it all the way, I don’t know what happened as far as he led with his helmet or anything like that, but I just call it football. I’m on to the next play.”
Here’s the play where Vaccaro lit up Diggs:
Saints S Kenny Vaccaro just got a flag thrown for this hit. Absolutely leveled Stefon Diggs. pic.twitter.com/L5Fh5Tqriv
— Clint Lamb (@ClintRLamb) September 12, 2017
The NFL league office hands out fines for hits on defenseless receivers in the head and neck area, but there are no rules against taking out an opponent’s knee. Those rules only exist for quarterbacks, and even one of the best tight ends in NFL history said he believes they should extend to low hits.
Science in the past few years has shown how dangerous repeated blows to the head can be for a player’s long-term health, but Diggs’ opinion is one that is shared by many NFL players. As dangerous as it sounds, a lot of players would prefer multiple concussions to a torn ACL.
Two weeks of the NFL season are now officially in the books and, similarly to Week 1, the league saw quite a few close games over the weekend.
Within those closes games — and even some that weren’t — several players stood out above the rest. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at the five biggest individual performances from the week that was.
5. Travis Benjamin (wide receiver, San Diego Chargers)
After losing wide receiver Keenan Allen to a torn ACL, the San Diego Chargers were in desperate need of someone else to step up. On Sunday, Travis Benjamin did exactly that.
“That’s just what we talked about on Wednesday,” quarterback Philip Rivers said via Chargers.com after the game. “We said they’re going to have to have some six for 100-something yard games, and Travis did that today with two touchdowns.”
Call it clairvoyance or some sort of divine premonition, but Rivers and the Chargers got exactly what they predicted out of Benjamin and a little extra. He was perfect, hauling in all six of his targets for 115 yards and two scores.
When all was said and done, the Rivers/Benjamin combination led the Chargers to a dominating 38-14 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, with Benjamin on the receiving end of more than half of Rivers’ total production.
Final line: 6 receptions for 115 yards and two touchdowns, two punt returns for 25 yards
4. Matt Ryan (quarterback, Atlanta Falcons)
Entering the 2016 regular season, the pressure was mounting for Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. And that pressure didn’t dissipate when the team lost its opener to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1.
But with rumors swirling of a potential conflict with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, Ryan came out on Sunday, put the team on his back and — with a little luck also on his side — carried his teammates to a much-needed victory over the Oakland Raiders.
Ryan threw for nearly 400 yards, but it was his three touchdown passes that were the key. All three came with the Falcons trailing or the game tied, including a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter that was deflected before landing in the waiting arms of wide receiver Justin Hardy.
“Yeah, sometimes you need a little luck, right? For us, you talk about in our building all the time, ‘Good things happen to people who run.’ Good things happen to those guys who run all the time,” Ryan told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution after the game. “Hardy was busting his tail on the backside and ended up being in the right spot at the right time and it ended up being a huge play for us. So that was a good bounce.”
Atlanta’s running backs, who accounted for 139 yards, certainly did their part to help the team, but it was ultimately Ryan and his 131.5 quarterback rating that earned the gold star.
After two weeks, Ryans leads the league with a 121.4 quarterback rating.
Final line: 26/34 for 396 yards, three touchdowns and one interception
3. Stefon Diggs (wide receiver, Minnesota Vikings)
Teddy Bridgewater had already been lost for the season, Shaun Hill was on the sideline and Sam Bradford was under center.
For wide receiver Stefon Diggs, it was his third different quarterback in a month, but it didn’t slow him down one bit.
In front of his home fans under the brand new lights of U.S. Bank Stadium, Diggs had a career night, hauling in nine receptions for more than 180 yards and a key score. Diggs’ numbers also represented the best output for a Sam Bradford receiver in any NFL game and topped all other wide receivers in terms of yardage through two weeks of the season.
“I work hard and do things the way they’re supposed to be done just so I can have success out here,” Diggs said after the game, per The Star-Tribune. “I always want more.”
With running back Adrian Peterson (meniscus) now out a few weeks, the Vikings will need more of this kind of production from Diggs.
Final line: 9 receptions for 182 yards and one touchdown
2. Matt Forte (running back, New York Jets)
If anyone doubted what Matt Forte had left in the tank, the Jets running back proved them wrong with an impressive performance on Thursday night.
Forte had an impactful 32 touches in a 37-31 victory over the Buffalo Bills, and while his average per touch won’t jump out of the box score, his three touchdowns — including the game-sealer in the fourth quarter — most certainly will.
“He’s a workhorse,” Jets head coach Todd Bowles said after the game, according to the New York Daily News. “He was getting the tough grind-it-out yards…. He can run, he can catch, he can block. Just having somebody back there like that who’s going to keep grinding… helps us out a lot.”
It was more than just a fantasy gem for Forte. His 32-touch, three-touchdown night came with a lot of punishing hits and grind-em-out yards and proved without a shadow of a doubt that he can still be the same back he was in Chicago. That’s a big deal for the Jets.
Final line: 30 carries for 100 yards and three touchdowns, two receptions for nine yards
1. Von Miller (linebacker, Denver Broncos)
Von Miller is a man among boys. Or at least it looked that way on Sunday during a 34-20 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
Miller was all over the field, terrorizing offensive linemen and quarterback Andrew Luck, whom he brought down on three separate occasions, including on the final play of the game.
“He obviously got the better of me today,” right tackle Joe Reitz said via FOX Sports after the game. “I’m disappointed in myself, especially that last play in a critical situation. He got a good jump and got around the edge, got to Andrew. The rest is history.”
With fellow linebacker DeMarus Ware out 4-5 weeks after suffering a fractured forearm, the Broncos will likely need a lot more of this from Miller. But at least early on, that doesn’t seem like it’s going to be a problem. Miller is still in Super Bowl 50 form and shows absolutely no signs of slowing down.
Who needs a quarterback when you have a dominating defense led by one of the most dominant pass rushers in football?
Final line: 7 tackle (5 solo), one tackle for a loss, three sacks, 20 sack yards, one pass defensed and three QB hits
Maryland recruit Stefon Diggs began feeling backlash ever since we posted about his offensive Jeremy Lin tweet Thursday night. Diggs apologized for the comment and promptly closed his Twitter account until the fall.
“A lot of people feel some type a way about my tweet. I sincerely didn’t mean anything by it,” Diggs wrote on his account, which has been deleted. “I apologize to those who I offended.”
After complaining that people had taken his tweet out of context and were judging his character, he said he would be closing his account.
“In conclusion I will avoid all future situation like this by not tweeting at all. This situation can be viewed in many different ways. I honestly didn’t mean anything by it.
“LAST TWEET … goodbye twitter see you in the fall.”
And like that, he was gone.
People may think it’s unfair to go after a high school kid, but what’s unfair is the people who bring racial stereotypes into the Jeremy Lin conversation. This is probably a good thing for Diggs. He’s learning at a young age to be careful when it comes to sensitive subjects, and at least he has plenty of time to change his reputation.