Last season’s Pro Bowl featured a new format. Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders both selected players for their teams. During the game, Team Rice edged Team Sanders by a score of 22-21. Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles was voted as the offensive MVP while Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson was voted as the defensive MVP.
For Sunday’s Pro Bowl, hall of fame wide receivers Cris Carter and Michael Irvin were the captains. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh coached Team Carter and Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett coached Team Irvin. 63,225 spectators were on hand to watch these teams square off at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ.
On Team Irvin’s side of the ball, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was the leading passer. Stafford completed 15 of 25 passes for 316-yards and two touchdowns. Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and Saints tight end Jimmy Graham each made two touchdown receptions. Saints running back Mark Ingram led Team Irvin with 72-yards on 11 carries.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees led Team Carter in passing, completing 13 of 21 passes for 163-yards and two touchdowns. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck completed nine of ten passes for 119-yards and two scores, including one to teammate T.Y. Hilton. Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown led all receivers with six catches for 98-yards.
Defensively, Team Carter registered two sacks, both of which came courtesy of Ravens linebacker Elvis Dumervil. Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes intercepted a Brees pass for their only takeaway. Meanwhile, Team Carter’s offense turned the ball over twice. Stafford lost a fumble and was picked off once by Texans defensive end J.J. Watt.
With Team Irvin trailing by nine late in the second half, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan entered the game. Ryan responded with a pair of scoring drives which resulted in touchdown strikes to Sanders and Graham. He would finish the game with completing 11 of 16 passes for 104-yards. Ryan, Stafford, and Tony Romo combined for 463 passing yards.
Team Carter decided to go with Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton for their final drive of the game, which proved to be a mistake. With 3:10 remaining, Dalton led a 13 play, 65-yard drive all the way down to Team Irvin’s 19-yard line. On fourth and ten, Dalton’s pass to Panthers tight end Greg Olsen fell incomplete. Team Irvin hung on for the 32-28 victory.
Not surprisingly, both offenses went up and down the field. Team Irvin recorded 30 first downs and 611-yards. Meanwhile, Team Carter tallied 24 first downs and 452-yards. Matthew Stafford was voted as the game’s Offensive MVP while J.J. Watt was voted as the defensive MVP. Along with his interception, Watt also defended four passes.
Super Bowl XLIX will mark the conclusion of the 2014-15 NFL season. This year’s Super Bowl will feature the NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks and the AFC Champion New England Patriots. The game will be televised on NBC and kickoff will start at 6:30 p.m.