January 27

Pro Bowl: Ending is twice as nice for Team Rice

A 2-point conversion lifts Jerry Rice’s team to a 22-21 win in the debut of the Pro Bowl’s sandlot format.

The Associated Press

HONOLULU — Dallas running back DeMarco Murray caught a 20-yard pass for a touchdown and Carolina running back Mike Tolbert plunged into the end zone for a 2-point conversion with less than 1 minute remaining to give Jerry Rice a win over Deion Sanders in the first schoolyard-style Pro Bowl on Sunday.

click image to enlarge

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dexter McCluster of Team Rice is tackled by Chiefs safety Eric Berry, left, and Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson of Team Sanders on a punt return in the third quarter of Sunday’s Pro Bowl, won by Team Rice 22-21.

The Associated Press

Baltimore’s Justin Tucker missed a 67-yard field goal on the game’s final play after missing a 66-yarder earlier.

The touchdown and conversion gave Rice a comeback after Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles threw a 12-yard touchdown to Cleveland tight end Jordan Cameron with less than 5 minutes to play, giving Sanders a 21-14 lead.

The touchdowns by Cameron and Murray were the only scores of the second half in a game that had eight turnovers – including six interceptions – and nine sacks.

Foles was the only quarterback of six in the game to not throw an interception. He was named offensive MVP.

Philadelphia wide receiver DeSean Jackson and Carolina quarterback Cam Newton also had touchdowns for Team Sanders. New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham and Cleveland wide receiver Josh Gordon caught touchdowns for Team Rice.

The Pro Bowlers were split up by the NFL greats in a new draft format meant to improve the game. The picks made earlier in the week created matchups that pitted usual teammates against each other and challenged Rice and Sanders to compare the all-stars against one another.

The result was a game that appeared more competitive than in years past, with some big hits and fewer shenanigans.

Jackson caught the game’s first touchdown pass from Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck. Luck threw the ball 36 yards into double coverage in the end zone on a flea flicker, where Jackson wrestled it away from Titans cornerback Alterraun Verner.

Graham caught an 8-yard fade in the second quarter from Saints teammate Drew Brees, turning around Brees’ slow start. Graham dunked the ball over the crossbar in celebration, but San Diego safety Eric Weddle jokingly defended the attempt.

Newton scored on 1-yard run up the middle for a touchdown, making up for an earlier interception on a ball Cleveland cornerback Joe Haden wrestled away from Jackson.

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