Fluke TD pass rallies Vikings win over Saints
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Case Keenum completed a last-ditch heave near the sideline Sunday on the game’s final play, and Stefon Diggs slithered away for a 61-yard touchdown to give Minnesota a 29-24 victory over New Orleans and send the Vikings to the NFC championship game, with one more win needed to become a first-time Super Bowl host.
Drew Brees had driven the Saints in position for Wil Lutz’s go-ahead 43-yard field goal with 25 seconds remaining, punctuating a steely rally from a 17-point deficit that stood until 1:16 was left in the third quarter.
The Vikings were out of timeouts and nearly out of options when Keenum dropped back with 10 seconds to go from his 39 and threw high into a crowd. Diggs jumped in front of Marcus Williams.
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Rookie running back Leonard Fournette ran for 109 yards and three touchdowns, Blake Bortles added 214 yards passing and a vital fourth-quarter score as the relentless Jacksonville Jaguars stunned the Pittsburgh Steelers 45-42 on Sunday.
The third-seeded Jaguars will face top-seeded New England next week in Foxborough, Massachusetts after jumping on Pittsburgh early, then holding on late. Jacksonville raced to a 21-point lead, fended off a Steelers rally and responded every time Pittsburgh challenged.
Ben Roethlisberger threw for 469 yards and set a franchise record with five touchdown passes, but was also intercepted once and had a fumble returned for a score. All-Pro Antonio Brown caught seven passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns in his return from a left calf injury. Le’Veon Bell had 155 yards of total offense and two scores.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia’s defense staged a last-minute goal-line stand and Jake Elliott atoned for a missed extra point with three field goals as the Eagles beat the Atlanta Falcons 15-10 Saturday to move into the NFC championship game.
Despite being underdogs as the No. 1 seed, the Eagles showed plenty of moxie in the tightest spots of the fourth quarter.
They stopped sixth-seeded Atlanta after it got to the 9 with a first down, and then on fourth down from the 2 when Matt Ryan’s pass sailed over Julio Jones’ head in the end zone.
It was the first playoff win for Philadelphia since the 2008 season, and they will host Minnesota for the conference title next Sunday.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Tom Brady passed for three touchdowns and 337 yards, and the New England Patriots cruised past the Tennessee Titans 35-14 on Saturday night to advance to their seventh consecutive AFC championship game.
It was Brady’s 10th career postseason game with at least three TD tosses, moving him past Joe Montana for the most in NFL history. James White caught a touchdown pass and ran for another, and Danny Amendola had 11 catches for 112 yards.
The Titans took an early 7-0 lead, but New England scored 35 straight points to take control.
Marcus Mariota completed 22 of 37 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns, but was under duress for most of the second half. He was sacked eight times, a Patriots playoff record.