2012 Pro Bowl Post-Game Analysis

After an interesting emo-pop presentation by Hot Chelle Rae, it’s the NFC’s best against the AFC’s best this season at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Super Bowl lies a week away, but for now, we have got NFL football players playing some glorified backyard flag football.  It’s mildly entertaining, but it’s no Super Bowl.  (With the Pro Bowl scoreboard at http://www.nfl.com seemingly hacked or bugged, it is definitely not the Super Bowl.)

Now to the post-game analysis:

  • After San Francisco 49ers David Akers kicked the ball, Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger‘s drive went into a quick three-and-out for the AFC.
  • With Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers at the NFC’s helm, after passes to Atlanta Falcons Tony Gonzalez and Green Bay Packers Greg Jennings, Arizona Cardinals Larry Fitzgerald scores off a 10-yard reception to bring the score to 7-0 with 9:20 in the first quarter.
  • After an onside kick by David Akers and recovered by Chicago Bears Charles Tillman at the AFC 44-yard line, Aaron Rodgers threw a 44-yard pass to Larry Fitzgerald for yet another touchdown to bring the score to 14-0 with 9:14 in the first quarter.  A trick play paid off big for the NFC!
  • After an entertaining series of events involving an interception by Green Bay Packers Clay Matthews and lateral to Chicago Bears Charles Tillman, Ben Roethlisberger launched the ball to Cincinnati Bengals A.J. Green for a 34-yard AFC touchdown to bring the score 14-7 with 7:01 in the first quarter.
  • After a fumble by Philadelphia Eagles LeSean McCoy, Ben Roethlisberger launched the football to Miami Dolphins Brandon Marshall for a 75-yard touchdown reception to tie the game.
  • After a batted-ball recovery by Aaron Rodgers, the NFC drive stalled in the closing minutes of the first quarter.
  • With New Orleans Saints Drew Brees in for the NFC in the second quarter, Brees steadily made it down the field with Larry Fitzgerald and Tony Gonzalez.  Brees capped off the drive with a 1-yard pass to New Orleans Saints Jimmy Graham with 9:47 in the second quarter.
  • On the other side, San Diego Chargers Philip Rivers made it down the field with passes to San Diego Chargers Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates.  He capped off this drive with a 29-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall to tie the game 21-21.
  • After a drive led by several passes to Jimmy Graham, Saints Drew Brees threw a 11-yard touchdown pass to Green Bay Packers Greg Jennings to bring the NFC up 28-21 with 5:22 in the second quarter.
  • AFC’s Philip Rivers answered quickly with passes to San Diego Chargers Vincent Jackson and ultimately finished the drive with a 27-yard touchdown to Antonio Gates with no time left.
  • After the interception of Carolina Panthers Cam Newton, Cincinnati Bengals Andy Dalton steadily moved down the field, but the drive stalled at NFC’s 19-yard line.  Oakland Raiders Sebastian Ganikowski booted a 37-yard field to bring the score 31-28 AFC with 12:23 in the third.
  • With 12:09 in the third quarter, Cam Newton threw a 55-yard touchdown reception to Carolina Panthers Steve Smith to bring the score 35-31 NFC. Cam Newton certainly has the physical assets of a great quarterback for that pass.
  • After another onside kick by David Akers, an interception by Houston Texans Johnathan Joseph and his 26-yard return, Jacksonville Jaguars Maurice Jones-Drew 39-yard rush, the drive ultimately stalled, and NFC is forced to punt.
  • In a split second, Cincinnati Bengals Andy Dalton threw a  47-yard touchdown reception to Brandon Marshall with 3:53 in the third quarter to bring the AFC up 38-35. Marshall had an amazing  juggle catch as he tumbled onto the ground.
  • After the 36-yard return by Pittsburgh Steelers Antonio Brown off the kickoff, Baltimore Ravens fullback Vonta Leach rushed for 1-yard touchdown rush to bring the score 45-35 AFC with 11:40 in the last quarter.
  • Cincinnati Bengals Andy Dalton threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall to bring the AFC up 52-35 with 8:25 left in the game.
  • Denver Broncos Von Miller gets an 8-yard sack on Cam Newton and the first and only in the game with 8:25 in the fourth.   Cam Newton gets his second sack by Von Miller with 6:16 left in the game.
  • NFC’s Cam Newton was intercepted by San Diego Chargers Eric Wheddle with a 29-yard return who lateraled to Kansas City Derek Johnson for a 60-yard touchdown run to bring the score of the AFC up 59-35.
  • Newton’s redemption came in a 36-yard touchdown reception to Larry Fitzgerald to bring the score 59-41 AFC with 2:37 in the last quarter.
  • Saints Drew Brees drop-kick field goal is no good with 2:37 left.

The first half was a match of offenses trading blows through the air.  Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger could not find any rhythm, but Philip Rivers did.  New Orleans Saints Drew Brees played like he usually does and performed well with a 144.3 quarterback rating, only above Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers with 140.1 in the Pro Bowl. All of the running backs on either the NFC or AFC side ran very little.

In the second half, the defenses for the NFC and AFC became more relaxed and began playing hard.  Cam Newton certainly began feeling the pressure as he had two sacks by Von Miller and an interception return for a touchdown by Eric Wheddle and Derek Johnson.  To release the pressure, both teams began rushing from running backs and fullbacks.

In this Pro Bowl game, AFC’s Cincinnati Bengal Andy Dalton was the best performing quarterback with a 152.5 quarterback rating with New Orleans Saints Drew Brees as second-best with his 144.3 rating.  The best running back performer was Jacksonville Jaguars Maurice Jones-Drew, and lastly, the best wide receiver of this Pro Bowl was Miami Dolphins Brandon Marshall with his 177 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns.  His four touchdowns broke a Pro Bowl record, and Marshall rightfully deserved the Pro Bowl MVP award.  On the NFC side, Carolina Panthers Cam Newton performed miserably with a 44.8 quarterback rating with 193 passing yards, 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions in a Pro Bowl game nonetheless which means he won’t be getting any MVP awards.

This game was won easily by the AFC 59-41, and this game is the highest scoring Pro Bowl game, not that it means much in light of the regulations.  After this charade of a game, the Super Bowl will be coming with the New York Giants and the New England Patriots meeting at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.  This will be a Super Bowl rematch with Giants Eli Manning facing the Patriots Tom Brady, and the game should be more entertaining than this Pro Bowl game. Get the pizza, beer and chips ready!

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