Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers staked the NFC to an early 14-point lead with two touchdown passes, but a second-half surge led the AFC to a 59-41 victory in the Pro Bowl on Sunday in Honolulu.
Rodgers threw for 141 yards and two scores to lead the six Packers who played for the NFC, which was coached by the Green Bay coaching staff.
Completing 13 of 17 passes in the first half, Rodgers posted an efficient 139.6 passer rating. His two TD passes both went to Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald and came just seconds apart, as the NFC got the ball back with a surprise onside kick after a 10-yard TD toss to Fitzgerald. On the next snap from scrimmage, Rodgers hit Fitzgerald for a 44-yard score. Fitzgerald finished with three TD catches.
In addition to the onside kick, the NFC’s special teams also ran a successful fake punt later in the game. Among other strange plays, Rodgers completed a pass to himself, grabbing a deflection but losing 15 yards in the process.
Packers receiver Greg Jennings gave the NFC a 28-21 lead in the second quarter with an 11-yard touchdown catch from New Orleans QB Drew Brees. Jennings finished with five catches for 42 yards.
On the defensive side, Packers linebacker Clay Matthews intercepted a Ben Roethlisberger pass in the first quarter, but the NFC eventually lost the ball on the play after a couple of laterals on the return led to a fumble.
Green Bay defensive lineman B.J. Raji was credited with three tackles in his first Pro Bowl appearance, and the Packers’ other first-time Pro Bowler, center Scott Wells, shared duties at his position with Carolina’s Ryan Kalil throughout the game.
Miami receiver Brandon Marshall was named the game’s MVP with six catches for 176 yards and a Pro Bowl-record four touchdowns. Trailing 35-31 early in the third quarter, the AFC scored 28 straight points to pull away.