AFC rally for rain-soaked win over NFC in Pro Bowl
Steady rain was a factor in the 2018 Pro Bowl, but the AFC rallied for a 24-23 victory over the NFC at Camping World Stadium in Orlando on Sunday.
Orlando Raiders quarterback Derek Carr hit Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker for an 18-yard touchdown with 1:31 remaining to lift the AFC to the one-point lead after trailing the entire game.
Walker was the game's offensive MVP after catching four passes for 29 yards and two scores. Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller was the defensive MVP with three tackles and a game-sealing strip sack with 36 seconds remaining.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees led the NFC downfield on the opening possession for a 13-play, 75-yard drive that ended with an eight-yard pass to Minnesota Vikings receiver Adam Thielen.
The AFC responded with a 12-play, 52-yard drive led by Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. That drive stalled inside NFC territory as Steelers kicker Chris Boswell got the AFC on the board with a 41-yard field goal.
Those two drives consumed most of the clock in the first quarter before rain drenched the field. After the AFC forced a three-and-out, Kansas City Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill muffed a Johnny Hekker punt on the second play of the second quarter.
Hill tried to pick the punt up off a bounce and instead, the wet ball slipped through his hands and was recovered by Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker. The rookie from Washington returned the fumble for a touchdown, but was called back to the AFC 21-yard line because muffs cannot be advanced.
The turnover led to a 43-yard field goal by Carolina Panthers kicker Graham Gano. The kick gave the NFC a 10-3 lead, but the NFC defense was just getting started.
Vikings safety Harrison Smith intercepted Roethlisberger on the ensuing possession and returned it 79-yard for a touchdown.
Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith took over for the AFC on the following series, but was picked by Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson in the end zone to quell a nine-play, 68-yard drive.
Smith finished seven of 10 for 131 yards with a touchdown and interception. The NFC held a 20-3 half-time lead, but a 44-yard pass to Indianapolis Colts wideout T.Y. Hilton, who split a pair of NFC defenders after the catch, set up a four-yard touchdown toss to Walker in the third quarter as the rain tapered off.
The rain returned in the fourth quarter and Peterson's second interception initially appeared to seal the NFC win. But Carr led a seven-play, 47-yard scoring drive as Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff, who went 10 of 18 for 86 yards, was unable to generate any points. Goff was sacked by Miller and fumbled to give the AFC the victory.