NFC blows out AFC 62-35 in Pro Bowl
HONOLULU — A handful of shenanigans and plenty of points — yet still another ho-hum Pro Bowl.
Whether the NFL’s all-star game will return next season is something the league will ponder the next few months after the NFC’s 62-35 blowout of the AFC on Sunday.
“It’s been an unbelievable week,” Seattle rookie quarterback Russell Wilson said. “And the thing was, if you watched us, everybody was competing today, and it was really awesome.”
Wilson at least got the crowd pumped up in the second half with some nifty scrambles and three passing touchdowns. There was also Houston’s sack-happy defensive end J.J. Watt going out for a couple of passes as a wide receiver, and retiring Green Bay center Jeff Saturday snapping to two Mannings on opposite teams.
But while the NFC appeared unstoppable on offense, with nearly each player putting up fantasy-worthy lines in limited play, the AFC had five turnovers and scored most of its points well after the game was no longer competitive.
Minnesota tight end Kyle Rudolph was voted the game’s MVP with five catches for 122 yards and a touchdown.
“Guys were competing, guys wanted to win, and guys want to keep the game here,” Rudolph insisted. “That was the point before the game. We want to keep this game rolling for future Pro Bowlers.”
Watt, who had 20 1/2 sacks for Houston, lined up as a wide receiver on the AFC’s third play from scrimmage, but he missed a pass from Denver quarterback Peyton Manning. He was targeted one more time but didn’t make a catch.
He later showed a television camera a bloody left pinkie, joking with NBC broadcasters that it was proof that the players were trying.
“Hey, Commish, we’re playing hard,” Watt said as he showed his finger.
Roger Goodell has said the Pro Bowl won’t be played again if play didn’t improve this year. Last year, fans in Hawaii booed as linemen were clearly not trying. On one play in that game, Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen did a barrel roll to switch positions with a teammate.
If players were coasting this time around, it was less obvious. The AFC just played poorly. And fans didn’t boo much — the stands were relatively empty.
NFC 62, AFC 35
AFC 7 7 7 14 — 35
NFC 7 24 21 10 — 62
AFC—Green 6 pass from P.Manning (Dawson kick), 14:01.
NFC—Jackson 36 pass from Brees (Walsh kick), 10:09.
NFC—FG Walsh 48, 14:54.
AFC—D.Johnson 42 interception return (Dawson kick), 11:14.
NFC—Cruz 9 pass from E.Manning (Walsh kick), 7:00.
NFC—Lynch 1 run (Walsh kick), 1:41.
NFC—Rudolph 3 pass from E.Manning (Walsh kick), :00.
NFC—Martin 28 pass from Wilson (Walsh kick), 12:56.
AFC—Cribbs 4 pass from Schaub (Dawson kick), 6:21.
NFC—Fitzgerald 9 pass from Wilson (Walsh kick), 3:52.
NFC—Jackson 5 pass from Wilson (Walsh kick), 1:51.
NFC—FG Walsh 26, 14:38.
AFC—Green 4 pass from Luck (Dawson kick), 11:36.
NFC—Felton 3 run (Walsh kick), 7:55.
AFC—Green 49 pass from Luck (Dawson kick), 5:54.
First downs 22 27
Total Net Yards 356 478
Rushes-yards 11-15 27-78
Passing 341 400
Punt Returns 1-3 4-14
Kickoff Returns 5-115 4-167
Interceptions Ret. 1-42 3-27
Comp-Att-Int 30-53-3 32-44-1
Sacked-Yards Lost 3-20 3-20
Punts 4-51.5 2-33.5
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 1-1
Penalties-Yards 2-24 2-10
Time of Possession 26:55 33:05
RUSHING—AFC, Charles 3-12, Schaub 1-11, Reece 1-1, Luck 1-0, Foster 3-(minus 2), Spiller 1-(minus 2), Wayne 1-(minus 5). NFC, Lynch 4-21, Felton 4-18, A.Peterson 5-13, Wilson 4-10, Martin 3-8, L.Washington 5-7, Brees 2-1.
PASSING—AFC, Luck 12-19-1-205, Schaub 12-22-2-113, P.Manning 6-12-0-43. NFC, E.Manning 16-23-1-191, Brees 8-11-0-131, Wilson 8-10-0-98.
RECEIVING—AFC, Green 7-119, D.Thomas 5-52, Daniels 4-45, Spiller 4-25, Cribbs 3-56, A.Johnson 3-34, Wayne 2-12, Slater 1-13, Gresham 1-5. NFC, Cruz 10-96, Jackson 6-91, Fitzgerald 6-59, Rudolph 5-122, Martin 3-40, Witten 2-12.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—None.