In a 2016 Pro Bowl that will be remembered for being the last game for retiring Raiders future Hall of Fame defensive back Charles Woodson, Team Irvin came up with seven passing touchdowns and six interceptions and an MVP performance from Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson for a 49-27 aerial assault against Team Rice on Sunday.
Quarterbacks threw scads of scores and totaled 406 yards passing at Aloha Stadium for Team Irvin, named for captain Michael Irvin, the former Cowboys receiving great. The annual NFL all-star game in Honolulu, Hawaii, generated 960 yards of total offense and 52 first downs, 37 via pass, thanks to rules restricting blitzes and rushes on special teams and at times some half-speed defense. The two squads were a combined 16-for-21 on third down.
Setting the tone for Team Irvin on its first play from scrimmage was a 61-yard pass from Wilson to Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who burned Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters with a double move. It didn't slow down much from there. Peters later came up with an interception.
Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had two interceptions, joining four Team Irvin teammates who came up with one. Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett was defensive MVP for the winners with the game's lone sack. Bennett also took a direct snap at quarterback.
Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr., Falcons running back Devonta Freeman and Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman also played on the other side of the ball in a spectacle that had virtually everything but great defense by Team Rice, playing for captain Jerry Rice, Irvin's Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver counterpart, formerly of the 49ers. There were nine turnovers Sunday. Team Rice had two fumble recoveries and one interception, and lots of crow-eating to do after the game.
Both sides scored on their opening possession. Wilson, the first player picked in the fantasy-styled Pro Bowl Draft, started and completed eight of 12 passes for 164 yards and TD passes of 14 yards to Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones in the first quarter, six yards later in the quarter to Freeman, and 10 yards to Rams running back Todd Gurley. Wilson finished with a 149.3 rating.
Freeman's score and Wilson's 2-point conversion pass to Jones gave Team Irvin a 14-7 lead, one it would not relinquish. The scoring drive was set up by Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee's interception of Team Rice starting quarterback Eli Manning of the Giants. Gurley's score early in the second quarter helped make it 21-7 as Wilson led Team Irvin to scores on three of its first four drives.
Team Irvin's three quarterbacks all threw for at least 100 yards and a rating of over 100. Wilson's backups, the Vikings' Teddy Bridgewater (129 yards, 2 TDs) and Buccaneers rookie Jameis Winston (113 yards, 2 TDs) went to work beginning late in the first half with the lead when Bridgewater took charge.
Team Rice was paced by quarterback David Carr's 198 passing yards, but he threw two interceptions. Bills QB Tyrod Taylor passed for 120 yards and was picked off three times, twice on his first three attempts. Manning started and threw for 75 yards and one pick. Top receivers for Team Rice were Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce with five receptions for 91 yards and two touchdowns, including a four-yard TD grab from Manning on the game-opening drive, and Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry, who had three catches for 81 yards and a 31-yard TD, the final one of the day.
As expected, there wasn't much running of the football on either side. Team Irvin's Latavius Murray of the Raiders led all rushers with 42 yards on nine carries. Freeman rushed for 27 yards on six carries.
Doug Martin of the Bucs led Team Rice with 20 yards on seven totes. Martin's three-yard run and Josh Brown's kick pulled Team Rice to within 28-21 on the opening series of the second half. But Team Irvin took a 28-point lead with three TD passes, 50 yards from Bridgewater to Jaguars receiver Allen Robinson and 53 yards from Winston to Titans tight end Delanie Walker in the third quarter, and one for seven yards in the fourth to Hopkins.
The toss from Winston to Hopkins completed a mammoth 18-play, 99-yard drive and gave Team Irvin a 49-21 lead. Team Irvin's top receivers were Robinson (2 receptions, 105 yards, 52.5 average), Walker (3, 80, 26.7), Hopkins (3, 71, 23.7) and the Bengals' A.J. Green (3, 60, 20.0).