NFL 2012-2013 Pro Bowl Recap
On 1st and 10 from their 17, on the first play from scrimmage, Adrian Peterson fumbled and the AFC recovered for 1st and goal at the 7. On 4th and goal at the 6, the field goal was eschewed in favor of going for it. Peyton Manning hit AJ Green for the score to make it 7-0 AFC. The NFC came right back and moved 81 yards. On 2nd and 7 from the AFC 36, Drew Brees went deep to Vincent Jackson for the touchdown to tie the game 7-7.
The pace of the game actually slowed as the players took this game seriously. The AFC punted twice and the NFC once. On the last play of the first quarter, on 3rd and 7 from the AFC 24, Brees was sacked. The second quarter opened with Blair Walsh hitting a 48 yard field goal to make it 10-7 NFC. The AFC punted again and the NFC took over at their 24. On 2nd and 8 from the NFC 39, Eli Manning was intercepted by Derrick Johnson, who returned it 42 yards for a touchdown and a 14-10 AFC Lead.
The NFC got it back at their 27 and Manning hit Victor Cruz for 11, Vincent Jackson for 12, and Cruz again for 11. On 3rd and 10 from the AFC 28, Marshawn Lynch gained 12. Manning hit Cruz for 7 and again for the 9 yard touchdown as the NFC led 17-14 midway through the second quarter.
The AFC moved from their 25 to 1st and 10 at the NFC 40. Schaub went deep and the ball was batted in the air by Patrick Peterson and intercepted by William Moore at the one yard line. Moore returned it to the NFC 28. Eli Manning went deep to Kyle Rudolph for a 52 yard gain. On 3rd and 10 from the AFC 20, Manning went deep incomplete. Yet we had our first penalty flag of the game. Officials almost never call them in this game. Even the referee showed humor as Ed Hochuli announced “Yes there are penalties in the Pro Bowl.” Defensive pass interference put the ball on the one yard line, and Lynch barely got the ball past the plane of the goal to make it 24-14 NFC with 1:47 left in the half.
The NFC got it back at their own 29 with 1:08 left in the half. Eli Manning hit Rudolph for 20, Cruz for 11, Martin for 5, Jackson for 10, Martin for 7, and on 3rd and 3 from the 18 with 11 seconds left, Larry Fitzgerald for 15. On 1st and goal from the 3 with 6 seconds left, the NFC had time for one more play. Manning hit Rudolph in the corner with a perfect fade as the NFC led 31-14 at halftime. The NFC was romping, having outgained the AFC in yards 351 to 59.
The AFC got the ball to start the second half and Schaub was quickly intercepted by Earl Thomas of the Seahawks at the AFC 43. Russell Wilson came in at quarterback for the NFC. He hit Jason Witten for 15 and then escaped a sack, rolled out, and hit Doug Martin of the Buccaneers for a touchdown. Now the game was a 38-14 NFC laugher.
After a touchback Schaub hits Green and Thomas for 6 each, Thomas for 12 more, CJ Spiller for 7, and on 3rd and 3 just past midfield, Owen Daniels for 13. Schaub ran for 11. On 3rd and 2 from the 17 Schaub hit Slater for 13. On 3rd and goal from the 4, Schaub hit Josh Cribbs for the score to get the AFC within 38-21. Yet only a few seconds later Leon Washington of the Seahawks was returning the ensuing kickoff 93 yards to the AFC 15. On 4th and 4 from the 9, the NFC decided to go for it and Wilson hit Fitzgerald for the score to make it 45-21 NFC.
After a touchback Andrew Luck came in at quarterback and his first Pro Bowl snap was a fumbled exchanged as the NFC took over at the AFC 18. On 3rd and goal at the 5 Wilson hit Vincent Jackson for the touchdown as the NFC was carpet-bombing the AFC 52-21. The AFC fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the NFC had 1st and 10 at the AFC 12. On 3rd and 7 Wilson was sacked as the third quarter ended. A field goal try appeared botched as a Garo Yepremian style throw was returned for a touchdown. Yet Antonio Cromartie jumped offsides. Blair Walsh did hit the 26 yard field goal to make it 55-21 NFC. Luck hit Green for the touchdown. The AFC needed 5 touchdowns to take the lead, and now only needed 4 as they were down 55-28 with 11 1/2 minutes left in regulation.
An exciting onsides kick had Phil Dawson hitting it with his heel. It failed anyway as the NFC took over at the AFC 41. Wilson hit Fitzgerald for 12 and on 3rd and 7 from the 25, hit Cruz for 22. Vikings fullback Jerome Felton banged it in from 3 yards out to make it a 62-28 NFC thrashing with 8 minutes still to play. Luck would throw a 49 yard touchdown to Green to get the AFC within 62-35, but the AFC was not mounting a comeback.
The most poignant moment came in the first half. Pro Bowl fans have now seen everything, even more fun than defender JJ Watt playing wide receiver. Center Jeff Saturday played the game for the NFC but switched to the AFC side for one play. Saturday was the center for Manning all those years in Indy. Saturday retired after the game so he wanted to snap it to Manning one last time. Saturday after the one play switched back to the NFC side of the ball when he came in again.
Saturday was traded to the Packers before this season after 13 years with the Colts. He wore the blue Jersey next to all the white jerseys across from the other blue jerseys. Saturday left to a standing ovation and kept the ball. He also blocked hard on the play. This was really a great tribute. A center who will go to the Hall of Fame getting one last snap with his fellow future HOF quarterback.
Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph was the Pro Bowl MVP. While the 2012-2013 Pro Bowl is now in the books, Super Bowl (47) XLVII is 7 days from today, next Sunday. The San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens will square off under brothers and opposing coaches Jim and John Harbaugh.
Here is Keenan Thompson of Saturday Night Live imitating Ray Lewis.
Pro Bowl Final: NFC 62, AFC 35