AFC follows defence to win low-scoring Pro Bowl


The AFC defeated the NFL 20-13 in the NFL Pro Bowl in Orlando on Sunday.

It was a low-scoring encounter at Camping World Stadium as Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid led the AFC.

The NFC were a 4.5-point favourite to beat the AFC with an over/under of 81 points for the all-star game, but the point total did not come close as defence came out on top.



Reid dug deep into his bag of tricks, running a double-reverse combined with a flea-flicker on the first play from scrimmage. The AFC were fortunate the trick play did not result in a turnover as Tyreek Hill's pitch to Miami Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry hit the turf. Landry picked it up and tossed it back to Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, whose pass to Hill in the flat sailed too high.

The AFC later ran a fake field goal as Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce powered his way off the left side for a seven-yard gain to pick up a first down at the NFC 23-yard line late in the third quarter. That led to a 31-yard field goal by Baltimore Ravens' Justin Tucker. 



Kelce caught three passes for 36 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown in the second quarter that gave the AFC a 14-7 lead. Kelce was named the game's offensive MVP.

Buffalo Bills linebacker Lorenzo Alexander had a game-high nine tackles and two pass breakups, but it was a game-clinching interception with 1:23 remaining that sealed his selection as the defensive MVP.

Alexander, who had 12.5 sacks in his first season in Buffalo, was playing in the first Pro Bowl of his 10-year career. The 33-year-old entered the season with just nine career sacks.  



The NFL returned to its traditional AFC-NFC format after going "unconference" the last three years. After several years of players just going through the motions, especially on defence, Sunday's game was a refreshing return to an all-star game that resembled a competitive contest. 

The defenders actually came to play, registering nine total sacks and three interceptions and multiple forced fumbles despite offensive-friendly rules changes for the game.

The 33 combined points is the fewest since a 23-10 AFC victory following the 1998 season. The next 17 Pro Bowls averaged more than 63 points, with 100 or more combined points scored in the 2003 and 2011 games.