Case Keenum gives an incredible breakdown of the Minneapolis Miracle

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In January, Case Keenum was part of one of the great plays in NFL history when he completed the Minneapolis Miracle, the touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs on the last play of the Vikings’ playoff win over the Saints. Now Keenum is the Broncos’ quarterback, and he gave fans in Denver a fantastic breakdown of the play, both from an Xs and Os perspective, and from a human perspective.

Keenum was at an event for Broncos season ticket holders when he was asked about the play, and he then spent several minutes at a whiteboard explaining every element of it.

In the Vikings’ playbook, the play was known as “Gun buffalo right key left 7 heaven.” Keenum first explained what that means.

“Buffalo is our formation. It’s three-by-one but it’s a ‘B’ word — buffalo — so that’s a bunch, and there’s an ‘f’ in it so that means the f is at the point,” Keenum said. “Key left is the protection, which means it’s a six-man protection, they’re going to block six.”

Keenum made a point of praising the protection he got, especially in a late-game situation where 300-pound offensive linemen are running down the field in the no-huddle offense.

“The offensive line blocked their tails off. In these situations, two-minute, these defensive ends . . . they know it’s a pass so they’re literally in a track stance and they’re just rushing as fast as it can. So it started there. They were incredible,” Keenum said of his offensive linemen.

Keenum then went through his progressions and explained that he saw three other options before deciding to throw to Diggs.

“I had my guy Adam Thielen at X and he had a 7 route. The first part of that play call was 7, so he had a 7 route, which was a corner route. He had more than his share of defenders. He ran a 7 route, I really wanted to throw to him, but he was covered up,” Keenum said. “On this side we layer it. There’s three layers. Kyle Rudolph, who was at Y, he runs the quick out to the sideline. Our F, Jarius Wright, he runs an intermediate out route. And Stefon, who’s at Z, he’s got the high angle 7 heaven. There’s no timeouts left, we’re at our 39, and I remember calling the play and saying, ‘Guys, I’m going to give one of you a chance.'”

Keenum stressed that everyone on the Vikings’ offense was exhausted, given the furious pace of the final minutes of that game.

“They had just run all the way down the field and then they had to run back, and these guys are blocking their tails off, and they know I have to hold onto the ball to let these guys get down the field,” Keenum said.

Saints rookie free safety Marcus Williams was widely viewed as the villain of the play in New Orleans. Keenum praised Williams but acknowledged that it was Williams’ breakdown in coverage that keyed the big play.

“The rookie safety is a great player, had an awesome year, but he was beat, so Stefon just flattened the angle a little bit,” Keenum said. “I just threw it to the sideline. I remember I lost vision of him a little bit behind my right guard and I couldn’t really see. I knew the ball came out of my hand really, really well. Sometimes it comes out good and this came out great — I knew it was right where I wanted to put it. But I couldn’t see where Stefon was. And all of a sudden I see Stefon’s hands, his white gloves, just coming out of nowhere, and I’m like, ‘He’s gonna catch this ball.’ And he catches it. And I tell you, I’ve been in some loud stadiums, but . . . they went crazy. I mean it was nuts. It was the loudest I’ve ever heard. I’ve been in Seattle, I’ve been in Kansas City, where they set the world record for loudest outdoor stadium, but it was loud. It was so loud.”

For an instant it looked like Diggs would step out of bounds to give the Vikings a chance at a last-second field goal. That’s what the receivers had been instructed to do, but Diggs saw a clear path to the end zone and disregarded those instructions.

“Everybody was yelling the same thing I was: ‘Get out of bounds,'” Keenum said. “And he comes down and he turns back inside and this guy [Williams] overshoots it. I don’t see any of that happen. I see Stefon fall and put his hand down and I’m like, ‘No! Get out of bounds!’ And then he starts running toward the end zone and he never gets tackled, and I don’t know what’s going on.”

Keenum still finds himself shocked at how the game ended.

“You talk about the best moment? It was an unbelievable moment,” Keenum said. “I still don’t believe it sometimes, that it happened. It was so crazy.”

76 responses to “Case Keenum gives an incredible breakdown of the Minneapolis Miracle

  1. Not a Vikings fan at all, but I was yelling at the TV to the point where my family came running in to check and see if everything was okay. Amazing ending. Had this been a team I actually cared about I might have had a coronary.

  2. The rookie safety is a great player, had an awesome year, but he was beat
    ========================================
    Wrong, Williams wasn’t ‘beat’ at all, he actually arrived way too early on Diggs’ route and was fearful he would get a pass interference penalty and wound up whiffing on the tackle while taking out his teammate, the only other player that could’ve made the tackle, which allowed Diggs to complete the pass and run for the TD.

  3. So much had to happen for them to just get absolutely obliterated the next game.

    They didn’t belong in the playoffs. I’d truly be surprised if they made it this year with the stacked NFC and the King of the North returning.

    Rams, Packers, Eagles, Saints, Niners, & Falcons have a better shot.

  4. Keenum will always have an important place in Vikings history because of that play. What an outstanding moment that no one will ever forget. Now let’s hope the team has improved enough that they can put the playoff games away early and we can relax a bit.

  5. The very next week against the Eagles the Vikings laid a massive egg. The Saints would’ve been a more viable contender against the world champ Eagles.

  6. If williams doesn’t totally whiff on the tackle, i mean if he get’s one arm on Diggs, it is game over. Diggs would’ve been the villain for not doing as instructed.

    That was one of the worst tackle attempts other than a QB trying to tackle that i have ever seen.

  7. Viking’s management and fans will be wishing they had moved forward with Case instead of paying $26M per year to a stiff who cannot beat a good team

  8. Lutefiskisfattening says:
    June 22, 2018 at 11:45 am

    So much had to happen for them to just get absolutely obliterated the next game.

    They didn’t belong in the playoffs. I’d truly be surprised if they made it this year with the stacked NFC and the King of the North returning.
    __________

    See, this is why nobody likes people like you. The team went 13-3, had a first-round bye, and made it to the NFC championship game, but you say they didn’t belong in the playoffs because they got blown out at that point. What about the year before when the Packers went 10-6 and made it to the NFC championship game and got blown out 44-21? They were never in the game as Atlanta took a 34-0 lead. Would you say that team didn’t belong in the playoffs? Of course not.

  9. sb44champs says:
    June 22, 2018 at 11:48 am

    The very next week against the Eagles the Vikings laid a massive egg. The Saints would’ve been a more viable contender against the world champ Eagles.
    _______

    That’s easy to say, considering they didn’t get the chance to play them. The Saints wouldn’t have even been in that Viking game if not for a gift interception, a blocked punt, and a 4th-down conversion. You want to claim your team would have done a better job, then win the game you need to win to play in that game.

  10. I’m a season ticket holder and was at the game and I can tell you from a fans perspective being in the stadium it was f-ing nuts. I was hugging fans I didn’t know and vice versa, people were crying pure tears of joy and the place was LOUD. Fans stayed behind forever after the game was over. Walking through Minneapolis to the car lots you could just feel the buzz of all the fans. What people don’t realize is the Vikings have never been on that end of a play in such a big spot before. The Vikings have always been the team to let us down, have a big play kill our dreams. Some might say they did just that against the Eagles. I told myself going into the Philly game that if we lose, I wasn’t going to be mad. We had just went 13-3 in the regular season and were coming off an unreal play to end a game. We did all of that with basically our 3RD STRING QB. People that want to rip the Vikings are idiots because how many other teams can lose two starting QB’s in two years and have a season like we did? Just ask Packers fans how they did with their backup QB. All in all it was a great season and that play was pure enjoyment as a Vikings fan! Good Luck in Denver Case.

  11. That’s all well and good, but the play was only good for a possible FG. It was Diggs’ split second decision to stay in bounds and run for the endzone with no time on the clock that was the Miracle. nothing in the playbook for that ….

  12. As a Vikings fan this is getting sickening now. It was a toss up, Diggs made a great catch on a typical bad, inaccurate throw from Keenum. Combined with the biggest whiff in the history of DBs. It was a lucky, that’s all. If you’re a Broncos fan, get used to the fact Keenum cannot hit a receiver in stride outside of 20 yards. It’s mostly dink and dunk stuff, if he actually throws down field, it’ll be thrown to a spot only the receivers can run it down or no one else will. You’ll be sick of this guy about game 6

  13. I’d maybe understand the switch at QB if there was an age difference, but they are both 30 years old.(Case and Kirk)

    Keenum already proved he can lead the team to the NFC championship. Kirk hasn’t done that.

    Seems like a big gamble to see if this QB can do the same thing.

  14. nhpats says:

    June 22, 2018 at 11:50 am

    Viking’s management and fans will be wishing they had moved forward with Case instead of paying $26M per year to a stiff who cannot beat a good team

    ///////////////////

    Cant wait for season to start so nhpat and his fellow Cousin haters go away. Going to be a long season for pat fan, patriots are not making the playoffs and 2 yard tommy will retire.

  15. So much had to happen for them to just get absolutely obliterated the next game.

    They didn’t belong in the playoffs. I’d truly be surprised if they made it this year with the stacked NFC and the King of the North returning.

    Rams, Packers, Eagles, Saints, Niners, & Falcons have a better shot.

    —————–

    The Packers didn’t belong in the playoffs the year they got destroyed by the Falcons in the NFC Championship? Come on man. The Vikings absolutely belonged in the playoffs, they would have made it there even if Rodgers played all year. They most likely would be 12-4 instead of 13-3. The Packers haven’t swept the Vikings for the past 3 seasons.

    So The Rams, Saints, Falcons, and 49ers all belong there and we don’t? All teams we defeated (Minus the 49ers. Didn’t play them). Stop being biased. Chances are Packers or Vikings will both be playoff teams, unless injuries are a huge factor .

  16. @ARod(in his collarbone) says:
    June 22, 2018 at 12:02 pm
    Love all the haters, how do those tears taste people? Lmao.
    ————————————————————————-

    I assume you know the feeling well as a fan of one of the most futile franchises

  17. Corn Bread says:

    June 22, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    As a Vikings fan this is getting sickening now. It was a toss up, Diggs made a great catch on a typical bad, inaccurate throw from Keenum. Combined with the biggest whiff in the history of DBs. It was a lucky, that’s all. If you’re a Broncos fan, get used to the fact Keenum cannot hit a receiver in stride outside of 20 yards. It’s mostly dink and dunk stuff, if he actually throws down field, it’ll be thrown to a spot only the receivers can run it down or no one else will. You’ll be sick of this guy about game 6

    ////////////////////

    Not a Viking fan, a Viking hater

  18. sb44champs says:
    June 22, 2018 at 11:41 am
    Wrong, Williams wasn’t ‘beat’ at all, he actually arrived way too early on Diggs’ route and was fearful he would get a pass interference penalty and wound up whiffing on the tackle while taking out his teammate, the only other player that could’ve made the tackle, which allowed Diggs to complete the pass and run for the TD.
    ////////////////////////////////

    He overthought it, and overreacted, and failed………..because he was exhausted.

  19. brutus3413 says:
    June 22, 2018 at 11:36 am
    Not a Vikings fan at all, but I was yelling at the TV to the point where my family came running in to check and see if everything was okay. Amazing ending. Had this been a team I actually cared about I might have had a coronary
    ———————————

    I am a fan and I did almost have a coronary. Almost crushed my son while hugging him too. Surreal moment in time. The best part might have been the look on Paytons rat face.

  20. What a great moment that was. If Case doesn’t throw that early pick 6 against the Eagles it could have been a different game. They were up 7-0 and had the ball. Then the clock struck midnite on our cinderella season. Such a fun ride until then. Wish him luck in Denver. Hopefully Cousins can live up to the contract, it’s going to be a fun couple years if he does.

    Can we please get the one seed and not play on the road in the NFCCG for once (besides 98′ sighs)

  21. Lots of talking for a prayer of a throw and catch. That obviously was the Vikes Super Bowl as he’s still giddy over that play. Doesn’t sound like his arrow is pointing up. He’s seen his best moments in the NFL.

  22. as a big old whodat i am so ashamed of this. when marshawn lynch beast moded us that was his skills on full display. but getting beat by a keenum throw was humiliating, that dude was terrible all game long and we shoulda had picks and more sacks but instead we got sent to heaven smh

  23. Sorry Mr “Sb44” but YOU are “wrong”.
    He WAS “beat”. He was run off the ball WAY TOO deep (which is why Keenum stated “So Stephon flattened the route.” That was HOW he was “beaten”

    When you take that deep a drop to prevent someone getting behind you and leave them WIDE open and THEN whiff on the tackle.. you’ve been beat. Badly.

    Sorry it still stings, but he WAS beat. And he DID screw up. Twice.

  24. That was the last pass Keenum threw in his home stadium, and one heck of a memory Viking fans will have forever.

    The one thing I’m not clear on in his statement is why he said Williams was beat on the play. Williams correctly kept the play in front of him, being the last line of defense between the ball and the goal line. His mistake was watching Diggs instead of the ball, and assuming Diggs was going to continue his route at the same speed. Williams ducked intending to hit Diggs where he thought Diggs was going to end up, and whiffed because Diggs slowed up to jump and catch the ball.

    So yeah, Williams gets blamed for not watching the ball and making the tackle. My question is, where was the rest of the defense on that play? How do you only keep one guy back deep when you know what’s coming? Even with Williams missing that tackle, you just don’t leave one guy between the ball and the goal line. Most receivers can make one defender miss.

  25. I’m an Eagles fan, but I have to admit that was an amazing sports moment! I was watching the game with my Viking-Fan friend and I was so happy for him when they pulled that out. He literally had his remote in his hand ready to turn the game off right before that play!

  26. I still can’t believe they released the guy who delivered their best play in the last 20-30 years, who happened to be less expensive and about the same talent as Kirk Cousins. I get that the Eagles destroyed them the next week, but hey, the Eagles destroyed everybody last year, that’s why they won the Super Bowl.

  27. I literally fell off the couch screaming as it happened. My crabbiness at how the game was going to that point in the 2nd half had already chased away the family. They came bolting in and I was rewinding the play on Tivo. After the rush wore off, my first thought was, omg the hangover of this one is going to kill us in Philly.

  28. The missed tackle was karma for all the late hits on Farve in 2009.

    The missed tackle was karma for all the “missed” interference calls previously.

    The missed tackle was karmo for Payton’s classless mocking of the Vikings prior to that play.

    I’m not a big fan of supernatural explanations like Keenum (one of the grittiest players in the NFL), but if one team had such a bad beat coming, it was the Saints.

  29. onemorethentherest says:
    June 22, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    I’d maybe understand the switch at QB if there was an age difference, but they are both 30 years old.(Case and Kirk)

    Keenum already proved he can lead the team to the NFC championship. Kirk hasn’t done that.

    Seems like a big gamble to see if this QB can do the same thing.
    _________

    That’s a loser mentality. The Vikings aren’t trying to get to the NFC championship game; they’re trying to win the Super Bowl. Keenum played better than he ever did before in his career and took them as far as he could. It’s unlikely he would be able to do better this season. The new QB is an upgrade in talent. They may not get as far as last year but I give them credit for not standing pat and trying to do more. Go big or go home.

  30. Sorry it still stings, but he WAS beat. And he DID screw up. Twice.
    ========================================
    Nope obviously Williams got there too early and whiffed on the tackle.

  31. It was awesome for a game winning play
    But it was just a play that didn’t bring a championship.

    The only play I want them to concentrate is how they played vs Philly.

  32. The decision to sign Kirk instead of Case was a difficult one indeed. If you look closely at every game Case played he had some really good moments. That said, he had some pretty bad moments when it REALLY counted. I believe that is what tipped the scale in Kirks favor.
    I haven’t studied Kirk closely but when the Vikes played Washington Case threw 2 awful second half interceptions that kept them in the game and could have easily lost it for us. Kirk played well that day. It could easily end up being a huge mistake picking Kirk over Case, we’ll find out soon enough.

  33. It was awesome for a game winning play
    But it was just a play that didn’t bring a championship.

    The only play I want them to concentrate is how they played vs Philly.
    ==========================================
    Exactly, Vikings might want to overanalyze that pitiful game vs the Eagles first and foremost before declaring playoff victory without that ever elusive title.

  34. Let’s face it. Case is a good guy, strong leadership, had a nice year last year, but at the end of the day, he is only a journey man. I hope he does well in Denver. He is better than anything the team had last year, maybe. Time will tell.

  35. Tough call, Stay with the gutty but limited guy, or spend big on the guy perceived as having more upside? Who knows how it will turn out.
    Kirk better get off to a good start, or the distraction and doubt machine will be in overdrive.

  36. flviking says:
    June 22, 2018 at 12:21 pm
    nhpats says:

    June 22, 2018 at 11:50 am

    Viking’s management and fans will be wishing they had moved forward with Case instead of paying $26M per year to a stiff who cannot beat a good team

    ///////////////////

    Cant wait for season to start so nhpat and his fellow Cousin haters go away. Going to be a long season for pat fan, patriots are not making the playoffs and 2 yard tommy will retire.

    ———-

    Brady could never win another SB again and still have 5 more than the Vikings in the entire history of the team. I think the rest of the Pats fans and I will be just fine and I like our chances a whole lot better of making it to the SB than the Vikings. And if you were intellectually honest with yourself….so would you.

  37. Loudest stadium in the NFL. It’s enclosed, so it’s an unfair advantage over the others.

    I’ll be rooting for case. I’m worried the broncos offense will be too poorly designed and less talented for him to have the success he had in Minnesota.

    I’m still kind of iffy about signing cousins over case. As a Viking fan, case will be remembered for that moment. But you have I remember, case had some rather lack luster moments too. Cousins seems like he has a higher ceiling but cousins isn’t without mistakes and costly interceptions. Another reason I’m still unsure of the cousins signing over Keenum is because Keenum took $10 million less per year. I don’t see a $10 million difference in talent, and case seems more calm than cousins. I also like case under pressure more than cousins.

    We shall see.

  38. After Case gets beaten by Foles and the Eagles in the NFC Championship game, he is on video hugging Foles and telling him “No one deserves this more than you.” It takes a special man to even make something like this happen, and a special leader to step outside of the let down that the buildup of a play like this can cause, and the crash back that the NFC championship game. Minnesota will miss him regardless of how he plays in Denver, or how Cousins plays for Minnesota. He is a true leader that brought that team something that can’t be broken down on film.

  39. I liked Thielens breakdown of 38-7.

    “They made us look stupid.”

  40. “patriots are not making the playoffs and 2 yard tommy will retire”

    When you call the QB who led the league in completions of 40+ yards in the air last season and was #3 in completions of 20+ yards in the air “2 yard Tom” all you do is humiliate yourself by showing how little you know about the player.

  41. Funny that the Vikings let Keenum go and paid Cousins 3 times what they could have gotten Keenum for. Funnier yet, Keenum is a better quarterback.

  42. The Saints rushing 4 down linemen in that situation was literally the worst idea in the NFL….possibly history.

    Passing on second and goal…I’ve seen that hundreds if not thousands of times in my life. But rushing 4 in a Hail Mary situation? That might be the first time I’ve seen that. Normally you don’t rush anybody. You may have ONE guy police the LOS but NOT dropping 9 or 10 players in that situation is asking for trouble.

  43. I could not like Case Keenum more, as a person or a player. I would have been thrilled if the Vikings brought him back, and he wanted to return. Had Cousins not be available, I believe the Vikings would have. I’m a fan and really hope he does well in Denver…but the Broncos are not the Vikings. As a fan Kirk Cousins is my QB now, but I’ll forever be grateful; for this tough, gritty gamer.

  44. “Sorry it still stings, but he WAS beat. And he DID screw up. Twice.”

    “““`

    Well, Williams screwed up once on the tackle. Dennis Allen, as per usual, screwed up on the playcall. Allen could very well have instructed his players to not hit high so as not to draw a flag, which Williams looked to try and do when that happened. Of course, it’s still Williams’ fault for missing, and missing badly.

  45. >Keenum will always have an important place in Vikings history because of that play.

    I hope when Case is back in Minnesota, stop overs, playing against, stuck in an airport, etc. his money is no good there. Somebody, anybody, everybody owes that guy breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

  46. Ok it didn’t end well in Philly but it was amazing to finally lay a heartbreaker on someone else given the Vikings history. It was after 1AM here when Diggs took it home, my celebrations woke up the wife and kids…and possibly a few neighbours!

  47. If you watch the play before that Keenan doesn’t see a WR WIDE open in the middle of the field for a TD. It might be Diggs, I can’t tell.

  48. That’s cute, the Vikings fans have a name for the play that led them to their 1st champio…..oh yeah…just another in a 58 year long line of nothing.

  49. That’s a great breakdown of what Keenum said, but it’s missing a lot due to how much he talked. Hit the link posted in the article and watch the video. Thanks for post.

  50. I hope when Case is back in Minnesota, stop overs, playing against, stuck in an airport, etc. his money is no good there. Somebody, anybody, everybody owes that guy breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
    ——
    Imagine a player being that popular in Green Bay and all they could get is comfort food. Fine dining is a phrase not often heard in Green Bay.

  51. I would imagine Keenums’ real Minneapolis Miracle is being able to avoid Embracing the Suck for the next few years. He dodged that bullet. He’s got that going for him. Winning the SuperBowl is a phrase never heard by Viking fans, unless the subject is losing.

  52. Yeah, but we’ve won many men’s league basketball titles which as a Packer fan likes to say is about the same thing…

  53. cheeseisfattening says:
    June 23, 2018 at 1:04 pm
    I hope when Case is back in Minnesota, stop overs, playing against, stuck in an airport, etc. his money is no good there. Somebody, anybody, everybody owes that guy breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
    ——
    Imagine a player being that popular in Green Bay and all they could get is comfort food. Fine dining is a phrase not often heard in Green Bay.

    —-

    We’ve actually created a sauce from your plentiful tears.

    It’s full of taste and health. Unlike your average minnesotan.

  54. minneanderthals says:
    June 24, 2018 at 11:58 am
    cheeseisfattening says:
    June 23, 2018 at 1:04 pm
    I hope when Case is back in Minnesota, stop overs, playing against, stuck in an airport, etc. his money is no good there. Somebody, anybody, everybody owes that guy breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
    ——
    Imagine a player being that popular in Green Bay and all they could get is comfort food. Fine dining is a phrase not often heard in Green Bay.

    —-

    We’ve actually created a sauce from your plentiful tears.

    It’s full of taste and health. Unlike your average minnesotan

    ////////////////////

    According to American Healrh, Minnesota is ranked as the 4th healthiest state. Cheese curds. Brats, beer and couches have the mushy Wisconsin resident way down on their list. But your ahead of the roadkill cuisine of Mississippi.

  55. Case is a great guy, and he played well. It’s sad how people have to Troll no matter what. Even on a good article like this. Guess what, nobody knows if Case will play this again? Also guess what, nobody knows how Cousins will do with a better team? So stop acting like you know everything. As a Vikings fan I’m ready to accept whatever result.

  56. stellarperformance says:
    June 23, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    I would imagine Keenums’ real Minneapolis Miracle is being able to avoid Embracing the Suck for the next few years. He dodged that bullet. He’s got that going for him. Winning the SuperBowl is a phrase never heard by Viking fans, unless the subject is losing.
    ________

    Why do you always have to come in here and pick fights?

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