Saints safety Marcus Williams owns up to mistake on Stefon Diggs’ game-winning touchdown
The New Orleans Saints suffered a disappointing 29-24 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night that was decided on the final play of the fourth quarter.
It saw Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs record a 61-yard touchdown reception with 10 seconds left after Saints rookie safety Marcus Williams missed his tackle attempt entirely on the play. Following the game, Williams took full blame for the untimely miscue that led to his team’s demise, according to Mike Triplett of ESPN.
“Man, it was just my play to make,” said Williams, who missed the tackle around the Saints’ 35-yard line that allowed Minnesota Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs to run free for a 61-yard, game-winning touchdown in Minnesota’s 29-24 victory.
“The ball was in the air. I didn’t go attack it. And he came down and made a great play, and that’s just on me,” said Williams. “I just gotta be that guy and go up and get the ball. As a safety back there, you gotta be the eraser. And that was my job.”
This is certainly a huge pill to swallow for the 21-year-old given that it cost his team a shot to go to the NFC Championship Game to face the Philadelphia Eagles. There is simply no way around it as Williams had a heart-wrenching moment in the biggest game of his brief NFL career.
It was a singular play that will now forever be scrutinized for a single mishap with those questioning Williams’ decision to aim low rather than play the ball and make the tackle on Diggs inbounds. If he had gone that route instead, it could have led to him having a much cleaner opportunity to make a play and force the clock to run out.
However, Williams shouldn’t completely get all the blame as there were other things that New Orleans could’ve done to avoid defeat. For instance, the Saints could have picked up a first down on the drive prior to Diggs’ touchdown. This would have not only put them in a better field goal position for kicker Wil Lutz than the 43-yarder he made but also make it the final play of the fourth quarter.
Williams also made his fifth interception of the year late in the third quarter that helped fuel the Saints’ comeback from a 17-0 halftime deficit.
There are many ways to look at that game-ending play, but it’s clear that it will sting for quite awhile for the Saints, and Williams especially, for some time to come.