All New Orleans Saints safety Marcus Williams had to do was … well, anything other than what he did.
Williams lost his head at the worst possible moment, and he’ll go down in playoff infamy. The Saints rookie completely whiffed on a tackle against Minnesota Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs, who turned and ran for what will go down as one of the greatest, craziest touchdowns in NFL history.
For years and years and years when we watch the replay we’ll see Diggs make the catch, turn and run for the end zone as time expired to give the Vikings a miracle 29-24 win. And every time we watch the replay, we’ll see Williams put his right shoulder down and come up with nothing but air. He even took cornerback Ken Crawley out in the process, to make sure nobody could catch Diggs.
All Williams had to do was make a tackle in bounds. Diggs caught it with about five seconds remaining on the clock. He didn’t need to go in for a big hit, just any tackle would do. The Vikings had no timeouts and if Diggs didn’t get out of bounds, the game was over. Somehow, Williams missed. Completely.
Perhaps he was concerned about hitting Diggs early and getting called for pass interference (Fox studio analyst Jimmy Johnson on Fox thought Williams was trying to avoid a pass interference, which is why he played it the way he did), which would have stopped the clock. Williams didn’t even bump Diggs, who had the clearest path to the end zone that anyone will ever have in that situation.
It’s impossible to not feel for Williams after that mistake on such a huge stage.
#saints Rookie safety Marcus Williams feel to his knees on his way to locker room after his missed tackle cost saints the game and then inside the locker cried with his head in his hands.
— Alex Flanagan (@Alex_Flanagan) January 15, 2018
Williams, a rookie second-round pick out of Utah who had a good season, goes on a list of NFL playoff goats. Denver Broncos safety Rahim Moore, who let Jacoby Jones behind him for an unbelievable touchdown to allow the Baltimore Ravens to tie the game and ultimately win in overtime back in the 2012 season, is another defensive player who allowed a crushing touchdown. Most players who have gone down in postseason lore for an unfortunate mistake are either offensive players or kickers. Williams will be seen on that replay, completely coming up with air when all he had to do was keep Diggs in front of him, until the end of time.
Williams had a good rookie season and could have a fantastic career. But his one unfathomable mistake on Sunday will unfortunately be a part of his football legacy.
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