Tennessee’s Delanie Walker inspired the AFC to a 24-23 comeback victory over the NFC in Sunday’s 73rd NFL Pro Bowl all-star game.
Titans tight end Walker caught two touchdown passes to ensure it was the AFC who broke clear in the all-time rivalry between the conferences, which had entered the weekend in Orlando all square at 22 wins apiece.
After triumphing in the Skills Challenge on Thursday, the AFC made it a clean sweep at this year’s festivities in a typically entertaining affair that was played to its conclusion in torrential conditions and featured a barnstorming comeback from 20-3 down by the winners.
Walker was the hero, connecting with Raiders QB Derek Carr for an 18-yard touchdown with 91 seconds left that gave Chris Boswell the chance to add the extra point and seal the win.
Walker’s earlier strike, a four-yard catch from Alex Smith at the start of the second half began the comeback and ensured he also took the game’s MVP honours as the AFC stormed back from a 17-point deficit.
Minnesota’s Adam Thielen got on the end of Drew Brees’ eight-yard flip to give the NFC the lead on the opening drive of the game before the teams traded field goals.
Another Viking stretched the Nationals lead out to 17-3 when linebacker Harrison Smith picked off Ben Roethlisberger and returned it to the endzone for a 79-yard touchdown.
Graham Gano’s field goal ensured a big lead at the break but the AFC began their rally early in the second when Walker struck for the first time and Carr’s big-play link-up with TY Hilton set-up a LeSean McCoy score to bring the AFC to within three and set-up the dramatic conclusion.
After Walker’s score and Boswell’s extra point, there was still time for Rams QB Jared Goff to rally the NFC but as they looked to march down the field, Denver’s Von Miller forced what proved to be the gamedeciding a fumble and recovered it in the process.
None of the Super Bowl LII contending Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots were eligible as they arrive in Minnesota for next Sunday’s extravaganza, while each player on the winning team took $64,000, twice what those on the losing team received.
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February 4, 2018, 10:00pm
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