Monday January 26th, 2015

After slowing down Team Carter in the second half, Team Irvin pulled out a 32-28 win in Sunday's Pro Bowl in Glendale, Ariz.

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan connected with New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham on a 1-yard touchdown pass to put Team Irvin ahead for good with 3:10 remaining in the game. Those were the only points scored in the fourth quarter, as Team Carter scored its last points of the game on a 10-yard pass from Saints quarterback Drew Brees to Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olson with 13:33 left in the third quarter. Ryan also tossed a 1-yard score to Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders near the end of the quarter.

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, playing for Team Irvin, was named the Offensive MVP. He threw for 316 yards, second-most in Pro Bowl history.

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, playing for Team Carter, was named Defensive MVP after recording one fumble recovery, one interception, three tackles and three pass deflections.

Stafford threw two touchdowns, including his first one to Sanders on a 10-yard bullet in the first quarter.

Perhaps the game's top highlight came from New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., who dove to catch a 48-yard toss from Stafford.

Later in the second quarter, Team Carter regained the lead on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Brees to Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson -- who celebrated with Packers teammate Clay Matthews, even though he was repping Team Irvin.

Shortly before halftime, Watt got his interception with Team Irvin threatening inside the red zone.

Watt also had an impressive fumble recovery on the first play of the third quarter, reaching out with one hand to secure the football.

Team Carter extended its lead to 28-19 shortly after halftime, when Brees connected with Olson for a tough sideline catch in the end zone.

Team Irvin, however, responded later in the quarter with a 1-yard pass from Ryan to Sanders, cutting Team Carter's lead to 28-25 (the extra-point attempt failed).

In the fourth, Ryan found Graham for the go-ahead touchdown.

An eventful night, for sure -- even the coaches were into it.

Mike Fiammetta

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