Eli Manning of the New York Giants threw two second-quarter touchdown passes, including one to teammate Victor Cruz, as the NFC defeated the AFC 62-35 in the National Football League’s Pro Bowl in Hawaii.
The National Football Conference scored touchdowns on four consecutive possessions spanning the second and third quarters to open a 38-14 lead and set a Pro Bowl record for points-scored. The previous record of 59 points had been set by the American Football Conference last season.
Seattle Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson threw three third-quarter touchdown passes for the NFC, which takes a 22-21 lead in the all-time series.
“It was a great game,” Wilson, who tied Peyton Manning’s NFL rookie-record with 26 touchdown passes this season, said in a televised interview. “It was fun for the fans, fun for us and a good way to end the season.”
It was the third-highest scoring game in Pro Bowl history, behind the NFC’s 55-52 win in 2004 and the AFC’s 59-41 victory last year in the annual All-Star game.
Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph, added to the NFC roster as an injury replacement for Atlanta’s Tony Gonzalez, received the Pro Bowl’s Most Valuable Player award after catching five passes for 122 yards. His 3-yard touchdown catch from Eli Manning with six seconds left in the second quarter gave the NFC a 31-14 halftime lead.
“I never would have dreamed this,” Rudolph said. “Just to be here was an honor.”
Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints threw the NFC’s first touchdown pass, a 36-yarder to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Vincent Jackson, who scored twice.
Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos threw one touchdown pass for the AFC in his 12th Pro Bowl appearance, while his replacement in Indianapolis, Colts rookie Andrew Luck, passed for two scores. Luck also threw an interception and Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub was intercepted twice for the AFC, which finished with five turnovers.
The All-Star matchup was played the week before the Super Bowl for the fourth straight year, meaning players selected from the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens were unavailable. The 49ers and Ravens will meet in the NFL’s championship game on Feb. 3 in New Orleans.