Cousins rallies NFC to win over AFC in Pro Bowl
LAS VEGAS — Kirk Cousins threw three touchdowns passes Sunday to rally the NFC to a 35-33 victory over the AFC in the Pro Bowl Games and end that conference’s five-game losing streak.
Cousins completed 15 of 19 passes for 150 yards in the third and final flag football game of the NFL’s reformatted all-star game, which gave the NFC the victory. His AFC counterpart, Derek Carr, was 6 of 12 for 104 yards, two TDs and an interception.
Based on the earlier flag games and skills competitions, the AFC took a 21-15 lead into the final flag game.
The Pro Bowl changed its format this season, eliminating the traditional game and replacing it with three flag football games played on a 50-yard field and a series of skills competitions.
Each of the first two flag games were worth six points and each skills event was three. The total points were accumulated to form the score entering the third and final flag game.
Part of the reason for the change is that tackling became nearly non-existent in recent years because players were concerned about injuries. The Cleveland Browns, however, announced defensive end Myles Garrett dislocated a toe Sunday, but X-rays were negative.
The announced crowd of 58,331 was more than 2,000 more than last year, also played at Allegiant Stadium. No site has been announced for next year’s Pro Bowl, but it’s unlikely the NFL will want that event to be played in the same venue just before the Super Bowl, which will be in Las Vegas.
The AFC, based on Thursday’s four skills competitions, took a 9-3 lead into Sunday.
Then the NFC tied it by winning the first flag game 33-27. Facing fourth-and-7, Seattle’s Geno Smith completed a pass to Dallas’ CeeDee Lamb, who eluded Chargers safety Derwin James with a spin move at the 9-yard line and then ran into the end zone for a 32-yard touchdown with a second left.
Smith completed 14 of 16 passes for 239 yards and five touchdowns. The AFC’s Tyler Huntley was 15 of 20 for 192 yards and four TDs.
A kicking contest that was taped Thursday went to the AFC, and the NFC won the gridiron gauntlet obstacle-course race Sunday to make the score 12-12 entering the second flag game.
The AFC earned six more points in that game for an 18-12 lead. Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence converted a fourth-and-20 with a 45-yard touchdown pass to Buffalo’s Stefon Diggs with 2 minutes left to win 18-13. Diggs ran out of the end zone to where photographers were gathered. He grabbed one of the cameras and took photos of his AFC teammates as they posed.
Lawrence was 6 of 11 for 83 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. NFC quarterback Jared Goff completed 5 of 12 passes for 44 yards, a TD and an interception.
Both conferences split the following two skills competitions, with the AFC winning the strength contest and the NFC taking the finals of the best catch, making the overall score 21-15.
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