Pro Bowl 2020 score: AFC wins fourth straight all-star clash as Lamar Jackson named Offensive MVP

Super Bowl LIV will close out the 2019 NFL season, but first, we got a final look at some of the best talent across both the AFC and NFC at the 2020 Pro Bowl, where the AFC won its fourth straight cross-conference clash in Orlando.

Lamar Jackson won Offensive MVP (perhaps in advance of taking league MVP honors for 2019), but it was the AFC defense that really shook up Sunday's game play -- not with tackling, but rather with turnovers en route to a 38-33 decision.

Jackson, Michael Thomas, Jared Cook, Earl Thomas, T.J. Watt and Fletcher Cox all had highlight-reel plays throughout the showdown. Here are some of the biggest happenings from the day:

Ravens run the day

The Ravens had an NFL-best 13 players represented at the Pro Bowl, and their presence was definitely felt on Sunday. QB Lamar Jackson, the game's Offensive MVP, didn't show off his trademark speed a whole lot, rushing only twice against the NFC, but he led his conference with 185 yards through the air, as well as two touchdown passes. RB Mark Ingram was relatively quiet but still got a few touches, while Mark Andrews set a Pro Bowl record for catches by a tight end with nine for 73 yards and a score. DB Marlon Humphrey, meanwhile, led the AFC in tackles while on the field.

Turnovers galore

If takeaways are your thing, you'll want to find a way to rewatch this year's Pro Bowl. All three AFC QBs -- Jackson, Deshaun Watson and Ryan Tannehill -- threw an interception, while Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott also tossed a pick on a trick play for the NFC. Vikings QB Kirk Cousins also threw a pick and coughed up the ball on a strip-sack by Jaguars pass rusher Calais Campbell (the game's Defensive MVP) late in the game. The turnovers were largely responsible for the game's most important scores, too, with Harrison Smith's pick leading to a return score and Steelers pass rusher T.J. Watt scooping Cousins' fumble and taking it 82 yards for his own TD.

Tackling gets stiff-armed

It's become an annual tradition to poke fun at the physicality -- or lack thereof -- at the Pro Bowl, but the 2020 game was easily the closest thing to flag football to date. Players consistently slowed down well before contact, some of them even bringing themselves to a stop. And refs played along, blowing the whistle basically as soon as "colliding" offensive and defensive players came to a mutual decision to end the play. The only occasion where pseudo-tackling rules apparently did not apply was when Eagles DT Fletcher Cox returned an interception lateral from Vikings S Harrison Smith 65 yards for a score -- during which he stiff-armed several lackadaisical AFC opponents.

Running game is nonexistent

This shouldn't be a surprise, but neither Pro Bowl squad was very interested in running the ball. Not a single player -- not even star RBs like Ezekiel Elliott or Dalvin Cook or Nick Chubb -- got more than four carries on the afternoon. It was an all-passing affair, for the most part, with eight different receivers topping 50 yards. Lions WR Kenny Golladay led the way, with 109 yards on three receptions, while DJ Chark helped lead the AFC roster with 67 yards and a long touchdown.

Pro Bowlers pay tribute to Kobe Bryant

News of the NBA legend's sudden passing began to spread right around the time Sunday's game kicked off. Countless NFL stars used their Pro Bowl spotlight to pay their respects. Packers WR Davante Adams flashed a "2" and a "4" after scoring in recognition of Bryant's longtime jersey number, also dunking the ball over the goalpost. His teammate, pass rusher Za'Darius Smith, led group celebrations mimicking Bryant's signature jump shot. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, meanwhile, led a pre-game prayer for Bryant's family, as Smith told ESPN. And Camping World Stadium played host to an official tribute, with Bryant's image plastered on the jumbotron during the second quarter -- and fans joining in with honorary chants of "Ko-be!"

Drew Brees postpones 2020 decision

Brees had a fine day on the field, throwing for 95 yards and a touchdown to Saints teammate Michael Thomas, who also had one of the afternoon's better catches in a jump-ball situation against Tre'Davious White. But it was his sideline comments to ESPN's Lisa Salters that were perhaps just as notable. Brees remains publicly uncertain about whether he'll return in 2020, but he told Salters he's likely to make an official decision on his future by mid-February.

New onside rule makes its NFL debut

The NFL allowed teams to experiment with a new onside rule, permitting a fourth-and-15 attempt from a team's own 25-yard line in lieu of the standard kickoff attempt. It ultimately popped up just once, with the NFC squad trying it with about four minutes left in the contest. The AFC ended up picking off Kirk Cousins on what amounted to an arm punt -- a deep shot snagged by Ravens S Earl Thomas.

Relive the entire afternoon's game, with detailed analysis and play-by-play updates below.

0
0
SUN 3:00 P
ABC
Live updates
(45)
See New Posts
Pinned

MVPs: Lamar Jackson on offense, Calais Campbell on defense. The latter's strip-sack helped put the AFC back on top in the fourth.

Pinned

Thanks for joining us here this afternoon! Stay tuned here at CBS Sports for more from today's all-star game.

Pinned

And here are the kneel-downs. That's going to do it, folks. AFC wins this one 38-33. That makes four straight Pro Bowl wins for them.

Pinned

Two minutes left in this year's Pro Bowl. Turnovers have been the name of the game. So, too, have Kobe Bryant tributes. You could feel the weight of the NBA legend's sudden passing over this contest.

Pinned

The lone onside-kick experiment (a fourth-and-15 try from a team's own 25) ends with a pick. Kirk Cousins launches what amounts to an arm punt deep down the field, and Ravens S Earl Thomas picks it off. AFC on its way to a fourth straight Pro Bowl victory.

Pinned

Kirk Cousins gets swallowed up for a sack after fumbling on a two-point try. NFC down 38-33 with just over four minutes left.

Pinned

The entire AFC roster gathers in front of TV cameras to celebrate. Calais Campbell gets credit for the strip-sack of Cousins. Watt went untouched down the sideline for the score. AFC now leads 38-27 after the 82-yard fumble return.

Pinned

Kirk Cousins with a fumble that's scooped up by T.J. Watt and returned the distance! AFC is going to win this thing off turnovers.

Pinned

Saints TE Jared Cook with maybe the catch of the day deep down the sideline. A beautiful back-shoulder lob from Kirk Cousins.

Pinned

Back-to-back interceptions. First, Steelers CB Joe Haden picks off a trick pass from Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott. Then, just a few plays later, it's Packers pass rusher Za'Darius Smith snagging a pass from Ryan Tannehill.

Pinned

Ryan Tannehill finds DJ Chark for a 60-yard TD! Simple out route, and then Chark jukes Darius Slay to sprint down the remainder of the sideline untouched. AFC retakes the lead in Orlando. It's now 31-27 with the fourth quarter approaching.

Pinned

Jags pass rusher Josh Allen blocks the NFC's extra point to keep the score within three. A Pro Bowl special-teams highlight!

Pinned

Then Cousins finds Davante Adams, a division rival, on the very next play to give the NFC the lead. A 13-yard TD connection.

Pinned

Michael Thomas makes one of the better plays of the day, out-muscling Tre'Davious White on a deep jump ball from Cousins. A 39-yard pickup to put the NFC in business.

Pinned

Closing in on the end of the third quarter at the Pro Bowl. AFC leads 24-21 after that long Fletcher Cox return. Kirk Cousins now taking the field to replace Russell Wilson as the NFC's quarterback.

Pinned

Vikings safety Harrison Smith picks off a Deshaun Watson pass just in front of the end zone, returns it a ways, then laterals to none other than Eagles DT Fletcher Cox, who lumbers another 65 yards for a score. The "touch" tackle rules apparently didn't apply there, as Cox stiff-armed his way through a couple of lackadaisical defensive efforts.

Pinned

ESPN replays footage of Za'Darius Smith, of the Packers, leading a celebration by the NFC defense that pays tribute to Kobe Bryant.

Pinned

It's the Ravens' day. Lamar Jackson is the front-runner for Offensive MVP after throwing 185 yards and two scores. Mark Andrews broke a Pro Bowl record for catches by a tight end, finishing with eight for 65 yards and a score. Marlon Humphrey leads AFC in tackles.

Pinned

Justin Tucker hits from 50 yards on a FG try to extend the AFC's lead. They lead 24-14 at the break.

Pinned

People say every single year that the Pro Bowl tackling gets less physical, but in all honesty, this sets a whole new standard. Players are slowing down ahead of contact on every single play. Mark Ingram just had a huge hole, ran for a big pickup, then slowed well before two DBs approached him, just kind of half-heartedly jogged through a couple of touches from the defenders. Closest thing to flag football at the Pro Bowl yet.

Pinned

And now the AFC has retaken its lead thanks to another TE. Deshaun Watson to Jack Doyle. NFC now trails 21-14 as we approach halftime. No player has more than two carries thus far. It's been all passing.

Pinned

Mark Andrews just set a Pro Bowl record for catches by a tight end with eight. It helped that his QB, Lamar Jackson, played plenty in this game.

Pinned

Lamar Jackson hits Mark Andrews for a sixth time today, and it knots this Pro Bowl up once more. We've got a 14-14 game after the AFC's latest score. Jackson clearly vying not only for league MVP honors but today's Pro Bowl Offensive MVP award. He's got 185 yards and 2 TD passes.

Pinned

Cowboys WR Amari Cooper makes his first catch of the Pro Bowl, and it's a touchdown to put the NFC ahead. Russell Wilson gets 71 yards through the air on just three completions during that series. NFC up 14-7.

See More