Best of the best: Pro Bowl

The 2019 Pro Bowl was on Jan. 27 at the Camping World Stadium in Orlando, FL.  Photo via Camping World Stadium Website

The 2019 Pro Bowl was on Jan. 27 at the Camping World Stadium in Orlando, FL. Photo via Camping World Stadium Website

Nicole Guillen, Managing Editor

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If rain doesn’t stop first-year starter Patrick Mahomes, then only the Patriots can.

The Kansas City Chiefs quarterback lead the AFC team to its third consecutive win of 26 – 7 with the help of a fan favorite defensive line that managed to catch an impressive three interceptions and seven sacks. More impressive than that was the fact that the game was played in the rain, where slippery ball handling and falls were more than likely to happen. Less shocking was the spectacular offensive starting lineup that included consistent superstars like Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen, Steelers running back James Connor and a handful of Mahomes’ own personal teammates from the Kansas City Chiefs playing as wide receiver, tight end and fullback. Mahomes was able to get a total of 156 in passing yards with most of them starting from successful first-down passes.

What was the key factor in the AFC victory over the NFC in the Pro Bowl? The AFC’s unstoppable defense. The AFC defensive lineup was comprised of heavy-hitters such as Steelers lineman Cameron Heyward, Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard, and Jets strong safety Jamal Adams, who was eventually awarded Pro Bowl MVP alongside Mahomes.

Post-win Jamal Adams even admitted that “he dropped two picks” due to the rain factor, but he and his fellow AFC teammates “came and competed hard.” The AFC defense managed to shut out NFC attempts for a touchdown for three consecutive quarters with their consistent tackles and significant pressure on the NFC quarterback in the form of sacks and tackles for loss of yards.

If there was ever an instance that showed how clearly the AFC came to play, it was the first interception thrown by NFC quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and caught by Bears cornerback Chris Harris Jr. The AFC had its share of fun with Mahome’s early no-look pass to Steelers wide receiver Smith-Schuster, but it meant business when it came time for the defense to step up.

On the other hand, the NFC did have some opportunities to drive the ball forward, but it ended up missing those, with lots of ball dropping and unfortunate throws that either got intercepted or didn’t cause a significant gain in yards.

The NFC offensive side was mostly lead by Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who had contributed 68 of the total 101 passing yards that the team made overall. Like Mahomes, Wilson was surrounded by a high caliber of players that consisted of running backs Ezekiel Elliott of the Cowboys and Alvin Kamara of the Saints, Packers wide receiver Davante Adams and 49ers tight end George Kittle, just to name a few.

As their offense was continuously stopped by a strong AFC defense, Cowboys and NFC head coach Jason Garrett decided to make things interesting with an offensive-to-defensive switch. Alvin Kamara of the New Orleans Saints, in particular, tried his hand at his pass-rush game as a defensive player and did surprisingly well, with good tackle pressure on Mahomes.

It’s important to note that both Michael Thomas and Drew Brees did not attend the Pro Bowl, which put the NFC at a disadvantage. Despite a fun-to-watch swap, the NFC just couldn’t beat that defense, but at least Jason Garrett had a good time, with his same radiant smile on display everytime the camera happened to pan to him.

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