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