Sports Out West

Pro Bowl 2014: Team Rice edges out Team Sanders 22-21

AP Press: Eugene Tanner

In the first edition of the new format for the Pro Bowl that involved a fantasy draft of players from both conferences, it was a thriller that came down to a last-minute drive with Jerry Rice’s team edging Deion Sanders‘ team 22-21. What also made the game so exciting to watch was increased intensity and competiveness in a defensive battle where points were hard to come by for each offense as it was the lowest combined scoring output since 2008 and closest game since 2006. So with a new format for the Pro Bowl it appears to have rekindled the spark for a competitive and now very watchable game hopefully for years to come.

So without further ado here is how players from the NFC West and AFC West performed:

Offense

Alex Smith

After throwing an interception on the previous drive, the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback led a game-winning touchdown drive that ended with a 20-yard pass out of the backfield to Dallas Cowboys running back Demarco Murray included a tw0-point conversion to give Team Rice a one-point lead with under a minute to go in the fourth quarter. In the 19-second drive, Smith was 3-of-4 on pass attempts for 42 yards. The Chiefs quarterback showed pose and tremendous leadership in the final drive to lead Team Rice to victory over Team Sanders.

Jamaal Charles

The League’s third leading rusher showed why he is one of the NFL’s best running backs as he ran for 43 yards on five carries. This also included an impressive 17-yard run. Although Charles had very limited action on Sunday, he did however display his why he was deserving of the Pro Bowl selection.

Philip Rivers

In his first Pro Bowl selection since the 2011 season and fifth of his career, Rivers had his fair of struggles throwing the ball as he threw two interceptions, but was able to lead Team Rice down the field for a touchdown on a five-play 57-yard drive that ended with a 10 yard end zone connection to Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon. Although Rivers struggled, he was able to make a difference in the game as he tied the game up at 14 in the final minute before halftime.

Here is Rivers Mic’d up at one of the practices for the Pro Bowl:

Defense

Derrick Johnson

 The Kansas City Chief linebacker in his third straight Pro Bowl appearance had his best performance in Hawaii, as he made 10 tackles that included one tackle for a loss on a hard hit on Chiefs’ teammate Jamaal Charles, one forced fumble, and a pass defection. His excellent play on the field on Sunday earned him the first defensive player of the game honors in Pro Bowl history. Johnson was everywhere on the field and was a major factor as he anchored Team Rice’s defense. 

Watch Johnson’s hit on Charles here:

Eric Berry

In his third Pro Bowl selection in career, the 25-year-old safety for the Kansas City Chiefs had a very impactful game as he recorded five tackles with a pass deflection, one fumble recovery and one interception. Like his teammate Derrick Johnson, Berry was all over the field on Sunday as he made his presence known with a interception of a tipped pass by Drew Brees intended for Larry Fitzgerald and a recovered fumble on the first play of the second half. The Pro Bowl appeared to be a game where it showcased the talent that Kansas City has on their roster, and Berry was no exception to that.

Here is video of Berry’s interception:

 Patrick Peterson

The Arizona Cardinals cornerback in his third Pro Bowl selection had an exceptional game in his limited action as he had one tackle, a pass deflection with one impressive interception of Rivers’ pass in the second quarter. In addition to his terrific play, Peterson then imitated his Pro Bowl head coach Deion Sanders. Peterson not only displayed that he belonged among the game’s best, but that he is also one of the league’s elite cornerbacks.

 

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Bob Garcia IV

Bob Garcia is a sports journalist from Southern California. He was a reporter for the award-winning newspaper, The Daily Sundial, at California State University, Northridge. You can follow him on Twitter, @BGarcia90.