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NFC topples AFC 62-35 in Pro Bowl

Russell Wilson Pic

Down 31-14 at halftime of the Pro Bowl, the AFC opened the third quarter with Texans quarterback Matt Schaub being intercepted by Seahawks safety Earl Thomas. It was Schaub’s second pick after replacing Peyton Manning.

The NFC’s third quarterback of the game was Seahawks rookie Russell Wilson, playing behind Drew Brees and Eli Manning. Wilson took over at the start of the second half and worked his magic immediately, 360-spinning out of a near sack by Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, rolling to the left sideline, and finding Bucs running back Doug Martin for a 28-yard touchdown.

The Wilson-to-Martin score gave the NFC a 38-14 edge on their overmatched American Football Conference counterparts.

Schaub did his best to bounce back with a 16-play, 80-yard touchdown drive capped by a four-yard connection to Browns special teamer Josh Cribbs. The AFC still trailed at that point by 17, however, and proceeded to surrender a 92-yard kickoff return to Seattle’s Leon Washington.

After a sack and false start pushed the NFC back 14 yards, Wilson ripped off a 13-yard scramble and again spun away from the AFC pass rush, this time evading Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins to hit Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald for a nine-yard touchdown.

Vikings kicker Blair Walsh’s extra point made it 45-21, NFC.

Colts rookie Andrew Luck was the AFC’s third quarterback to play, after Peyton Manning and Schaub. Luck’s first snap of the Pro Bowl was fumbled and recovered by Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.

Again granted terrific field position, Wilson continued to pour points on the AFC, capitalizing on the Luck miscue with a five-yard scoring strike to Vincent Jackson. The NFC had scored six touchdowns in as many possessions at that point in the blowout.

Following a fumbled kickoff by Cribbs, that touchdown string ended when Walsh’s second field goal of the contest -- this one from 26 yards out -- put the NFC up 55-21 early in the fourth quarter.

Luck rallied the AFC with a 39-yard strike to Cribbs, 23-yarder to Bengals receiver A.J. Green, and a four-yard touchdown to Green, “narrowing” the deficit to 55-28. The NFC would find pay dirt again on its next possession as Vikings fullback Jerome Felton’s three-yard touchdown dive made it a 62-28 game.

Luck delivered the throw of the 2013 Pro Bowl midway through the fourth quarter, hitting Green on a go route in Bears cornerback Charles Tillman’s coverage down the right sideline. The 49-yard touchdown was placed in Green’s breadbasket and made the score 62-35, NFC.

And that was it for the scoring. On the AFC’s final drive, Watt lined up at tight end and was covered by Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. Luck threw it up for grabs in the end zone, and Pierre-Paul came away with the pick.