The Saints nearly destroyed the Vikings’ postseason aspirations with a late field goal

The Minnesota Vikings have exorcised their playoff demons late in their Divisional Round showdown with the New Orleans Saints. Two years after Blair Walsh missed a 27-yard field goal that would have locked down the team’s first postseason win since the 2009 season, Kai Forbath calmly drilled a 53-yard field goal that gave Minnesota a 23-21 lead with just 1:34 left in the game.

You could say he was excited:

The Khans didn’t own the Jaguars the last time they made the postseason, so this is a totally new feeling for them, but one they’re bringing back to lifetime Jaguars fans.

His dad and team owner Shad Khan told the Florida Times-Union before the game, “If you’re not having fun now, you’ll never have fun. You’ve got to enjoy the moment. If you can bottle it, imprint it on the brain, you want to do that.”

It looks like the Jaguars are having fun.

The Falcons learned the hard way at the end of last year’s NFL playoffs that defense especially in the fourth quarter still wins championships. They applied their lesson well to begin this year’s NFC playoff run with a 26-13 wild-card upset of the Rams.

Atlanta didn’t win as easily as the score indicated. Los Angeles may have been the prettier team for most of the night, save for a return-game meltdown. Bottom line: it was the third consecutive conference playoff game the Falcons won by double-digit points.

We invited them and we rented the restaurant for 15, 16 people, Rapaglia said. I invited the presidents of the biggest leagues we have. New Jersey did the same. I never saw the girl in my life. Then we took some pictures. Look at the other possibilities. It’s like a lottery: eight, nine people running! We’ve been friends with Sunil for years. And we believe in his ability, and he’s a great guy for the game. Believe me.

Payton’s first challenge flag appeared to be a consequence of peer pressure. Case Keenum floated a 27-yard pass to Jarius Wright that the wideout corralled while diving to the turf. Replays showed the ball was clearly controlled after an initial bobble, but the enthusiasm of his players on the sideline and a Vikings offense rushing to get the ensuing play off forced the veteran head coach to call on the referees.

That was an understandable mistake — Minnesota’s hurry-up offense pressed the issue, and Payton seemingly went with his gut. His second challenge, however, was less forgivable.
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