By MARK LONG, AP Sports Writer
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Tennessee’s Delanie Walker caught two touchdown passes, including an 18-yarder with 1:31 remaining, and the AFC beat the NFC 24-23 in a rain-soaked Pro Bowl on Sunday.
Oakland’s Derek Carr completed 11 of 15 passes for 115 yards and connected with Walker on a skinny post for the winning score.
Denver’s Von Miller sealed the victory when he caused and recovered a fumble by Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff. Miller posed problems all afternoon for the NFC.
The AFC overcame a 17-point halftime deficit and four turnovers to win the annual all-star game.
Heavy downpours were partly to blame for the sloppiness.
The rain prompted some fans to leave Camping World Stadium and others to break out ponchos. It also caused players on both sidelines to scramble to protect cellphones.
Running back Mark Ingram and New Orleans teammate Cameron Jordan had their phones in hand during introductions, and dozens more could be seen using them on the sidelines early in the game. They shoved them in plastic bags as the rain started.
Each of the AFC quarterbacks — Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger, Kansas City’s Alex Smith and Carr — threw interceptions. And Kansas City returner Tyreek Hill muffed a punt.
Carr made up for his mistake by completing a 12-yard pass to Jarvis Landry on a fourth-and-7 play in the waning minutes. He found Walker down the middle three plays later.
Walker was voted the offensive MVP, and Miller was the defensive MVP.
The NFC looked like it would coast to a victory early as two Minnesota Vikings made big plays a week earlier than they wanted and a week later than they needed.
Adam Thielen had a touchdown reception, and Harrison Smith returned an interception for a score as the NFC opened up a 20-3 lead at halftime.
Thielen, Smith and three teammates represented the Vikings in the Pro Bowl.
They showed up a few days removed from a 38-7 drubbing at Philadelphia in the NFC championship game, which was essentially over by halftime. The Vikings had been trying to become the first to play the Super Bowl in their home stadium. Instead, the Eagles and New England will meet in the Super Bowl in Minneapolis next Sunday.
The Vikings were forced to settle for good seats to the NFL’s showcase event — and a trip to Orlando for their five Pro Bowl selections.
Thielen and Smith provided two early highlights for the NFC. Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph also did his part, catching seven passes for 70 yards.
But the NFC failed to hold onto the big lead. Goff threw incomplete on two fourth-down passes late as Saints coach Sean Payton tried to keep drives alive and milk the clock.
The game had more defensive gems than usual. Still, there was more two-hand touch than hard-nosed tackling.
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