DeMarco Murray of the Dallas Cowboys hauled in a 20-yard touchdown pass with 41 seconds left and Carolina Panthers running back Mike Tolbert bulled the ball into the end zone for the go-ahead two-point conversion at Team Rice beat Team Sanders in Sunday’s Pro Bowl in Honolulu, 22-21.
For the first time since the merger in 1970, the Pro Bowl was not played in the traditional AFC vs. NFC format. Instead, Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders drafted players regardless of team and conference affiliation.
Team Sanders’ last gasp, a 67-yard field goal by Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker, was no good.
The sloppy game featured eight turnovers, in part because of intermittent heavy rain, but just 43 points and 790 combined yards of offense. Yes, they did play some defense in a Pro Bowl.
Oakland Raiders fullback Marcel Reece made two receptions for 31 yards for Team Sanders, while San Francisco 49ers rookie safety Eric Reid had an empty stat line playing for Team Rice. But he will still get a $53,000 check for being on the winning side, as opposed to the $26,000 given to the players on the losing squad.
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles was named the game’s offensive MVP, going 7-for-10 for 89 yards and a touchdown for Team Sanders, while having the distinction as the only quarterback in the game to not throw an interception.
Derrick Johnson of the Kansas City Chiefs was the defensive MVP, notching 10 tackles and defending a pass for Team Rice.
Jamaal Charles of the Chiefs was the leading rusher in the game with 43 yards on five carries. Alex Smith of Kansas City was the only quarterback with more than 100 yards passing, finishing with 116 yards on 9-of-22 passing with a touchdown and an interception. His TD pass was the game-deciding toss to Murray.
Cam Newton of the Panthers scored on a 1-yard run with 5:42 to go in the first half to put Team Sanders back on top 14-7, but Team Rice tied the game with 36 seconds to go in the half on a 10-yard completion from Philip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers to Josh Gordon of the Cleveland Browns.
It was another Browns’ receiver, tight end Jordan Cameron, who put Team Sanders back on top, hauling in a 12-yard pass from Foles with 4:41 to go in the game.