Final score: AFC 20, NFC 13
The NFC got the ball back with a chance to tie, and Kirk Cousins got them to the 19-yard line, but then, phew, OK:
Cousins’ pass went through Jimmy Graham’s hands and right into the waiting arms of Lorenzo Alexander. He picked off the pass, ran it, then lateraled it to Aqib Talib, who raced down the field and was eventually tackled by ... Kirk Cousins!
Talib fumbled, but the refs ruled that he recovered. Jason Garrett was ticked about it and it headed for the review booth. The refs upheld the call and the AFC got the ball and the win.
Travis Kelce was named Offensive MVP while Lorenzo Alexander won Defensive MVP honors.
Fan MVP goes to this teen, who ran on the field and got into a race with Ezekiel Elliott.
Fourth quarter (4:29): AFC 20, NFC 13
Kirk Cousins marched the NFC down the field, completing passes to Dez Bryant, Odell Beckham Jr., Darren Sproles, and Greg Olsen. But then a threeway sack by Von Miller, Leonard Williams, and Geno Atkins helped stall the drive. Matt Prater added a 46-yard field goal to make it a one-score game again.
Fourth quarter (9:31): AFC 20, NFC 10
Kirk Cousins got to see his first action of the game, and he scrambled and then found NFC East rival Odell Beckham for a 42-yard gain. However, they couldn’t connect in the end zone, so the NFC went for the field goal. Matt Prater split the uprights with a 42-yard field.
Fourth quarter (14:12): AFC 20, NFC 7
After all that, the AFC ended up settling for a field goal anyway. Justin Tucker, automatic as ever, nailed the 31-yarder.
Third quarter (0:00): AFC 17, NFC 7
Well, a trick play finally worked for the AFC. Andy Reid decided to fake the field goal attempt and Travis Kelce stretched for the first down.
They’re now in the red zone.
On this drive, Philip Rivers entered the game, his last as a San Diego Charger, at QB for the AFC. Oh, and Jay Ajayi did his best Steph Curry impersonation and pretended to fly.
Third quarter (6:34): AFC 17, NFC 7
Drew Brees’ pass was batted back to him, and he caught it, bobbled it, and then let it hit the ground. The refs ruled it an incomplete catch, robbing us of a potential Fat Guy TD.
Andy Reid challenged the call on the field, but after a review, the refs upheld it. Still, the NFC couldn’t get a first down and had to punt it away.
Third quarter (7:29): AFC 17, NFC 7
The AFC got the ball to start the second half, and Demaryius Thomas snagged a one-handed catch on third down to keep their drive alive.
On the next play, Andy Dalton tried something called the “Ghostbuster” play, but it was more like “Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together ... mass hysteria!”
The NFC was flagged three times for neutral zone infractions, and Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett weren’t very happy about it.
On a 38-yard field goal attempt, Justin Tucker knocked it right through the middle to add to the AFC’s lead.
Halftime: AFC 14, NFC 7
Andy Dalton hit Travis Kelce for a 23-yard touchdown before halftime to put the AFC back on top. Hamming it up for the camera after the score, Kelce did the Salt Bae celebration:
Second quarter (2:00): AFC 7, NFC 7
Michael Bennett, last year’s Pro Bowl defensive MVP, sacked Andy Dalton and busted out his signature sack dance. But he made sure to keep it under three pumps:
The NFC got the ball back but had to punt it away to dangerous return man Tyreek Hill. The Chiefs rookie ran it back 38 yards and was pushed out of bounds by ... Ezekiel Elliott?
Second quarter (6:26): AFC 7, NFC 7
It’s another Seahawks player making a play: Doug Baldwin was wiiiiiide open on a 47-yard touchdown pass from Drew Brees to tie the game up.
Second quarter (7:57): AFC 7, NFC 0
And just like that, the NFC has the ball back. Andy Dalton entered the game for the AFC and promptly threw a pick on his second pass attempt of the evening.
Richard Sherman, the second Seahawks defender to force a turnover, snared the interception and ran it back to the NFC’s 42-yard line.
Second quarter (9:26): AFC 7, NFC 0
Drew Brees and Jordan Howard entered the game for the NFC and got the team moving quickly.
Von Miller must’ve forgotten that blitzing isn’t allowed in the Pro Bowl and was hit with an unsportsmanlike penalty for doing it to Brees. That got the NFC into the red zone. Just like last time, however, they couldn’t convert.
This time, Stephon Gilmore stepped in front of Odell Beckham Jr. and picked off Brees in the end zone.
Second quarter (14:52): AFC 7, NFC 0
On the first play of the second quarter, Alex Smith hooked up with Delanie Walker for a 26-yard touchdown for the first score of the night. Andy Reid knew it’d work: he laughed before the AFC even snapped the ball.
First quarter (0:00): AFC 0, NFC 0
The first quarter is in the books and we have a scoreless all-star game in chilly Orlando.
It’s only fitting that in a week highlighted by fun moments from punters, the NFC tried a fake punt with Landon Collins. It didn’t work:
The AFC got the ball at midfield.
First quarter (5:19): AFC 0, NFC 0
Dak Prescott led the NFC to the red zone, but wasn’t on the same page as Odell Beckham Jr. and they missed a chance at the touchdown. The AFC defense ganged up on Ezekiel Elliott, who was stood up at the goal line on fourth down. Elliott was limited to just 11 yards on five carries on the drive.
The AFC gets the ball back at the 1-yard line.
First quarter (11:03): AFC 0, NFC 0
Dak Prescott started out as the quarterback for the NFC, but they had to punt after Greg Olsen couldn’t haul in a pass on third down.
Alex Smith was under center for the AFC and their attempt at trickeration did not work:
However, the AFC was gaining yards until Bobby Wagner knocked the ball from DeMarco Murray’s hands. Jason Garrett challenged the ball and it was ruled a fumble. The NFC got the ball back.
Olivia Holt, who once guest starred on Dog with a Blog, kicked off the festivities with a beautiful rendition of the national anthem.
Before the game
The 2017 Pro Bowl will feature some of the NFL’s top players — as long as you don’t look too closely at the game’s quarterbacks.
The least-essential all-star game out of the major sports leagues had to dig deep to find available passers who fit the bill as upper-tier quarterbacks. MVP frontrunners Matt Ryan and Tom Brady can’t play, as they’ll be preparing for a date next Sunday in Super Bowl LI. Their conference title game opponents, Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers, both passed up the chance to play in sunny Orlando to get some well-deserved rest instead. Derek Carr suffered a broken leg toward the end of the season and can’t make it, either.
Marcus Mariota and Ryan Tannehill would have made suitable AFC replacements, but injuries will keep them off the field until official team activities start up next summer. Ditto for Andrew Luck, who had shoulder surgery once the season ended. Tyrod Taylor and Trevor Siemian, each an ambassador of mediocrity in their own special way, were invited to the game as alternates, but also had to turn down free trips to the theme park capital of the world.
Instead, the AFC will roll with an all-consolation prize platoon of passers. Explosive receivers A.J. Green, T.Y. Hilton, and Demaryius Thomas will be left to catch floaters from Andy Dalton, Alex Smith, and Philip Rivers. The NFC, in way better shape, gets Dak Prescott, Drew Brees, and the sentient parasite that inhabited Kirk Cousins’s body and turned him into a reasonable football player.
The replacement bug didn’t just sweep the game’s top quarterbacks from the exhibition. Here are just a sampling of the record-breaking stars who have chosen to sit out this year’s venture to central Florida.
That’s bad! The Pro Bowl can’t even get the Colts’ punter to take part in its game, but that doesn’t mean we’re left with a roster filled with scrubs. Superstars like Odell Beckham Jr., Von Miller, Marcus Peters, Ezekiel Elliott, and Michael Bennett will all be there, geared up for the trick plays and low-effort tackling for which the exhibition has come to be known.
If you’re a die-hard football fan, here’s your fix. On Sunday, it’s literally the only game in town.