The American Football Conference defeated the National Football Conference 38 - 33 at the 2020 Pro Bowl at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. From Jarvis Landry (Cleveland Browns) showing off in the Skills Showdown to a Harrison Smith (Minnesota Vikings) lateral to Fletcher Cox (Philadelphia Eagles) for a pick six to Josh Allen (Jacksonville Jaguars) blocking an extra point, it was a very entertaining game. Despite the NFL conferences dueling it out, the sports world was shaken up after hearing the NBA and Los Angeles Lakers legend, Kobe Bryant, his thirteen-year-old daughter, Gianna and others died in a helicopter crash roughly an hour before kick-off. The game would have a moment of silence during the second quarter when the fans chanted in unison, “Ko-be!”
The event began with the Skills Showdown on Thursday with the first event being the Precision Passing,( the NFC dominated) as Kirk Cousins (Minnesota Vikings) and Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks) scored 18 and 19 points respectively as the NFC cruised to a 43 - 17 win. The Gridiron Gauntlet would go by in a blink of an eye as Minkah Fitzpatrick (Pittsburgh Steelers) stood out the most as he ducked under obstacles and jumped over walls as he would eventually tag Nick Chubb (Cleveland Browns) for the AFC victory. The Best Hands event would turn into the Landry Show as his one-handed catches reminded us all of the one he made back in 2015 against the Indianapolis Colts. In the first-ever Thread the Needle contest, Cousins, 12 points and Wilson, 16 points would once again lead the NFC to a 28 - 21 win. The last and most popular event was the Elite Pro Bowl Dodgeball game, it would end with Jaylon Smith (Dallas Cowboys) throwing the ball right into the hands of Jarvis Landry, just for the record, thank goodness Smith is a linebacker not a quarterback, as the AFC team received the Skills Challenge Trophy with a 5-2 victory.
Now onto Sunday’s game, for the Pro Bowl participants', each winning player will receive $70,000 and every player on the losing team will receive $35,000. The game would begin with a Tress Way (Washington Redskins) punt for the NFC, Lamar Jackson (Baltimore Ravens) came out for the AFC who completed two huge completions to Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers one for 24-yards and the other for 11-yards. In the red zone, Jackson would throw the worst interception of the game as Budda Baker (Arizona Cardinals) caught the pass that wasn’t even near an AFC player. Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints) would waste no time as he did his typical thing, threw a bomb for 59-yards to Kenny Golladay (Detroit Lions) that put the NFC at the 16-yard line, the drive would end with Brees finding his fellow Saints teammate, Michael Thomas for the touchdown. That would be one of four straight drives ending in a touchdown, Jackson rebounded and found Andre Roberts (Buffalo Bills) for the 5-yard score tying it up at seven. Wilson entered the game for the NFC and on the last play of the opening frame, Von Miller (Denver Broncos) buried him for a 7-yard loss. Later that drive, Wilson fumbled the snap, recovered it and chucked up a lucky 45-yard completion to Jared Cook (New Orleans Saints), the drive would end with Wilson finding Amari Cooper (Dallas Cowboys) from 6-yards out.The AFC would respond with a seven minute long twelve play drive for 75-yards with Jackson finding his Ravens’ teammate, Mark Andrews tying it up at 14. Scoring would come to a close as Wilson's fourth down pass intended for Golladay was broken up by Marlon Humphrey (Baltimore Ravens). DeShaun Watson (Houston Texans) would enter the game for the AFC as he went right down the field hitting Jack Doyle (Indianapolis Colts) for the 13-yard touchdown, 21 - 14 AFC. The AFC got the ball one last time and kicked a 50-yard field goal by Justin Tucker (Baltimore Ravens) giving them a ten point lead at halftime.
On the first drive of the second half, the AFC with pick up a fourth and four as Watson found Derrick Henry (Tennessee Titans) for 15-yards which put them well inside field goal range. A few minutes later, the drive would end with a H. Smith interception as Watson under threw his receiver, on the return, H. Smith lateral the ball to Cox who rumbled his way for a 61-yard touchdown. The AFC would continue to struggle as Brett Kern (Tennessee Titans) punted for his first and only time, the NFC would respond back as Cousins entered the game and threw a 13-yard touchdown to Davante Adams (Green Bay Packers) who would honor the late Bryant with a slam dunk celebration. Too most of the fan’s surprise, J. Allen blocked the extra point which kept it at 27 - 24, NFC. It was “Tannehill Time” for the AFC as Ryan (Tennessee Titans) first career Pro Bowl throw hit D.J. Chark (Jacksonville Jaguars) for a 60-yard dart giving the AFC a 31 - 27 lead. The NFC got too fancy and on their only play of the drive, Ezekiel Elliott (Dallas Cowboys) with the trick play pass intended for Cowboys teammate, A. Cooper was intercepted by Joe Haden (Pittsburgh Steelers). Again, where is Dak Prescott when you need him? No need to worry NFC fans as Tannehill’s next pass was intercepted by Za'Darius Smith (Green Bay Packers). The NFC would take the drive into a tense fourth quarter, on fourth-and-goal at the 9-yard line, Cousins was strip-sacked by Calais Campbell (Jacksonville Jaguars) as the fumble was scooped up by T.J. Watt (Pittsburgh Steelers) who took the 82-yard return to the house, 38 - 27 AFC. The NFC would take valuable time off the clock but Cousins responded as he found Adams for his second touchdown making it a one-possession game, Cousins failed the two-point conversion as he was double teamed by Campbell and Allen. The NFC had to pass on a fourth and fifteen as this is the new onside kick rule first tested during the Pro Bowl, Cousins was intercepted by Earl Thomas (Baltimore Ravens) as he had no choice but to throw in double coverage. The AFC would run out the clock to win the 2020 Pro Bowl, 38 - 33.
This game was a refreshing change, especially if you watched last year's humdrum Pro Bowl that ended in a 26 - 7 AFC victory. Lamar Jackson took home the Offensive MVP with Calais Campbell taking home the Defensive MVP. We have to talk about those Jaguars for being a 6 - 10 team, as three all-stars showed up in this year's Pro Bowl. Rookie, Josh Allen blocked an extra- point, D.J. Chark’s 60-yard touchdown (Eric Kendricks, Minnesota Vikings still feeling the burn) along with Calais Campbell who clinched the AFC win with a strip-sack for the game winning touchdown. Let’s hope the 2021 Pro Bowl in flashy Las Vegas will be as entertaining as this one.