PRO BOWL: SECOND QUARTER
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
The NFC's Alge Crumpler reeled in a touchdown pass from Atlanta Falcons teammate Michael Vick with 2 seconds left in the first half.
Vick wakes NFC out of its doldrums by half
Michael Vick entered the game at quarterback in place of Matt Hasselbeck to lead the NFC back from its 7-0 first-quarter deficit.
On Vick's fourth snap, however, he fell victim to Kyle Vanden Bosch's second sack of the day.
Vick's fortune improved two plays later, when he heaved a high jump ball while being dropped for what looked like a sure sack by Marcus Stroud. Vick's toss -- thrown when he was in midair and nearly horizontal to the ground -- ended up being a "Hail Larry" as Larry Fitzgerald outjumped Deltha O'Neal and Bob Sanders to snare the ball for a 32-yard gain to the AFC 8.
That play set up Neil Rackers' 32-yard field goal and the NFC was finally on the board with 7:55 left in the half.
Peyton Manning's play at quarterback for the AFC went from mediocre to poor as the first half wound down. He led a 62-yard drive to set up Shayne Graham's 31-yard field goal for a 10-3 lead, but the superstar was intercepted by Darren Sharper and Roy Williams (Manning's second and third interceptions of the day) and the NFC held the AFC off the board the rest of the opening half.
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
The NFC's Larry Fitzgerald tried to make a catch over the AFC's Bob Sanders and Deltha O'Neal in the second quarter yesterday.
Williams' pick came at the NFC 12 and he returned it 11 yards before nearly stopping and handing the ball to speedster DeAngelo Hall, who sped another 57 yards to the AFC 20.
Vick's first TD pass -- a 13-yarder to Alge Crumpler over linebacker Shawne Merriman -- gave the NFC a 10-all tie with 14 seconds to go before the break.
The AFC was fortunate to be tied. Earlier in the quarter -- with 1:17 to go -- an NFC punt went off the foot of AFC returner Jerome Mathis and the ball bounced into the AFC end zone. A bunch of players from both sides attempted to pounce on the loose ball, but the AFC's Bob Sanders came up with it to avoid giving six points to the NFC.
AFC STANDOUT: Cornerback Champ Bailey had an interception of Michael Vick, made two tackles and was credited with two pass defenses in the quarter. The two tackles gave him a total of four for the half.
NFC STANDOUT: DeAngelo Hall, who didn't have a tackle in the opening quarter, made five solo stops in the second 15 minutes in addition to his 57-yard interception return after the handoff from Roy Williams.
STAT CHAT: Peyton Manning's three interceptions thrown before halftime gave him eight career Pro Bowl interceptions, tying the AFC's Dan Fouts of the San Diego Chargers for the record. Manning was also two short of the record of five thrown in one Pro Bowl game by the NFC'S Jim Hart of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1977.
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