Despite mounting a two-touchdown comeback with three minutes left in the fourth quarter, the NFC couldn’t hold on as they lost the 2007 Pro Bowl to the AFC Saturday night in Honolulu. The 31-28 win came off a 21-yard field goal by San Diego’s Nate Kaeding as time expired and gave the AFC its eighth win in the last 11 meetings of the two conferences.In a contest which had so many interesting elements, Saturday’s Pro Bowl came down to the wire and added thrill to a game which is usually dubbed “lifeless.” Trailing 28-14 with under three minutes left, the NFC rallied back. After Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young’s fumble was recovered by the NFC, St. Louis Rams running back Stephen Jackson ran for a touchdown with 2:54 left to play. NFC quarterback Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys, who threw for a total of 156 yards in the second half, could not net the follow-up two-point conversion.
With the game riding on one possession, Ronde Barber of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers recovered an onside kick for the NFC and set up Romo for a 47-yard touchdown completion to Arizona Cardinals wide out Anquan Boldin. Romo followed up the TD with a completed two-point conversion to Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith.
The game was tied at 28, when Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer, who finished with 190 yards for two touchdowns and the game’s MVP award, led the AFC across midfield.
It all came down to a pass interference call on Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson which brought the AFC to the goal line and set the stage for Kaeding’s winning kick. Wilson thought Palmer’s pass was tipped and leveled Palmer’s Bengals teammate Chad Johnson at the goal line to draw the ensuing flags.
Stephen Jackson proceeded to comment on the AFC’s last minute victory.
“I had a feeling they were going to have one more shot,” Jackson said. “These games are all about who lands the last punch, and Carson is a great player.”
Saturday’s game was also the last one for running back Tiki Barber of the New York Giants. Barber only rushed for four yards on seven carries but he did score the first TD of the game early in the second quarter. At the two-minute warning, a short video highlighting his career was played on the scoreboard at Aloha Stadium.
“I’ve been ready for this for a while, and I’ve been expecting it,” Barber said. “I’m excited. I’m not sad and upset that it’s over. I’m just real happy that it happened the way that it did, and I achieved all that I have, and get to go out on my terms.”
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees did not have a great game by any means. Brees was 2 of 7 passing for 23 yards and also dislocated his elbow in the game. No word on how long it will take for Brees to recover from the gruesome injury.
Super Bowl MVP quarterback Peyton Manning played only two series for the AFC and completed 5 of 12 passes for 67 yards. NFL Regular Season MVP LaDainian Tomlinson of the San Diego Chargers put together a nice game with 10 carries for 51 yards and also added a touchdown.