On Sunday January 27th, the NFL held the 68th annual Pro Bowl, a matchup between the all stars of league’s two conferences the AFC and the NFC. Leading up to the game the teams held multiple skills contests between the best of the best including best hands, precision passing, and a game of dodgeball. The game and contests were held in “sunny” Florida but the Orlando weather treated them to anything but that as kickoff was at 55 degrees and rainy.
The AFC got the ball at the beginning of the game, with league MVP hopeful Patrick Mahomes leading the offensive front. They came out on fire with Mahomes connecting to Eric Ebron from 18 yards out for the touchdown and the lead. The NFC, lead by Russell Wilson, had a strong start as well but were met by a strong defensive front on the goaline and the ball was turned over. This would be an odd occurrence for the team as they wouldn’t get this close to the goal line until the fourth quarter. Mahomes stayed in for the rest of the uneventful first quarter and ended the drive on the goaline to start the second quarter.
Again Mahomes proved his worthiness by getting the ball into the endzone once more with a 1 yard running touchdown by his fullback Anthony Sherman. The NFC’s second drive went about as successful as the first with Russell Wilson throwing the team’s first interception and once again giving the ball back to the AFC. As soon as the Afc could get out on the field they were off as the new QB Andrew Luck gave up and interception on his second play of the drive. Once again the NFC regained the ball but the drive ended unsuccessful again. A few drives later the AFC was able to get a field goal to put the score up to 17-0. At this many were left to wonder will the NFC score at all?
At the start of the second half the NFC reinforced this idea with an interception thrown by their new Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. If they wanted to win this game and the extra $30,000 now was the time to start. Following the intersection the AFC and Andrew Luck could get little done and ended up missing a 58 yard field goal to turn the ball over to the NFC. This drive the NFC came out a little differently and showed they may have a little left in them as they converted a fake punt by Ezekiel Elliott. The drive continued in regular fashion by the NFC for that day with Trubisky throwing a 3rd interception to defensive MVP of the game Jamal Adams. For the final quarter back the AFC brought out Deshaun Watson, who was the replacement for Tom Brady, and he led the team down for another short field goal to extend the lead of the shutout to 20-0. One surprising play tactic we saw from the NFC was letting star running backs Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley play defensive line, and they ended up doing surprisingly well.
The last quarter of the game started with a new quarterback for the NFC Dak Prescott who was the replacement for Jared Goff due to Super Bowl appearance. He was successful in his first drive and drove the team down the field for their first touchdown, making the score 20-7. The energy for the NFC did not end their as WR Mike Evans showed great defensive coverage and scored his first interception of the day from Deshaun Watson. But the energy would end their for the NFC as a fourth interception came from the team 2 plays later. With the game in the bag the AFC still didn’t slow down and brought in CB Jalen Ramsey to score the last points of the game giving the AFC a 26-7 win.
The game was surprisingly low scoring but this could have been due to players not acclimated to the rainy conditions. Many have said the game isn’t as entertaining as others due to little contact being made as a result of players not wanting to get injured. The game and its skills challenges still proved to be quite entertaining to many fans though. The game offensive MVP was awarded to Patrick Mahomes and the defensive MVP was given to CB Jamal Adams.