2009 Pro Bowl Notebook


POSTED: Monday, February 09, 2009

Tricky touchdown gave AFC lead

Though he rushed for more than 900 yards this season, Ravens fullback Le'Ron McClain got only a few touches yesterday. But he really made one of them count—with a trick-play touchdown that gave the AFC a 21-17 lead.

With the ball at the NFC 5, Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler brought the team to the line and took an immediate shotgun snap before the NFC defense could get set. Cutler ran a yard to his right behind McClain and put the ball under the legs and into the waiting hands of McClain, who burst off left tackle into the end zone.

To further confuse the NFC, Cutler continued running to his right while the whole line went left to block for McClain.

“;It worked. It was a good call and a good play for the situation,”; said Cutler. “;It was an old-school-style fumblerooski,”; McClain said. “;We worked on it in practice and (Ravens offensive coordinator) Cam Cameron called it.”;


Return to Hawaii was a kick

Tampa Bay return specialist Clifton Smith forged some new memories at Aloha Stadium to replace some unpleasant ones.

Smith, the NFC's return man, averaged 42.7 return yards on three kickoffs yesterday. His 55-yard return in the fourth quarter helped set up Eli Manning's 2-yard touchdown pass to MVP Larry Fitzgerald for the go-ahead score.

The Fresno State product rushed for 105 yards on 17 carries in Hawaii's 37-30 win over his team at Aloha Stadium in 2007.

“;Oh man, it's a big deal for me, especially after last year,”; Smith said. “;Playing here as a college kid, now coming back this year, as a Pro Bowler, it's a great feeling for me.

“;It's probably the biggest game I've played in, just to be here with so many great athletes, so many great accolades (among them),”; he added. “;It's the first time I've got Hawaii fans cheering for me instead of booing for me.”;


Punting up the charts

Oakland's Shane Lechler might have the entire Pro Bowl punting record book to himself when it's all said and done.

The four-time Pro Bowler booted a 65-yarder in the third quarter, the third-best punt in the 59-year history of the game.

The only two punts better than that? A 73-yard kick and a 70-yarder, both by Lechler.

Maybe it's all the practice he gets as a Raider. Oakland has had one of the worst offenses in the NFL over the last five seasons.


Cowboys anchor the offensive line

The Dallas Cowboys provided three of the NFC's six starting offensive linemen, including tight end Jason Witten. Left tackle Flozell Adams and center Andre Gurode also started for an attack that generated 338 yards.

Guard Leonard Davis was also on the NFC team, but did not play.

“;It's a good sign for us for next year, that we've got this many here,”; Gurode said. “;We still have a lot of hard work to do.”;



NFC 30, AFC 21


First Quarter
AFC—Gonzalez 19 pass from P.Manning (Gostkowski kick), 7:44.

Second Quarter
NFC—FG Carney 37, 10:42.
AFC—Daniels 9 pass from Collins (Gostkowski kick), :28.
NFC—Fitzgerald 46 pass from Brees (Carney kick), :00.

Third Quarter
NFC—Peterson 10 run (Carney kick), 2:24.

Fourth Quarter
AFC—McClain 5 run (Gostkowski kick), 6:59.
NFC—Fitzgerald 2 pass from E.Manning (Carney kick), 4:03.
NFC—FG Carney 48, 2:06.
NFC—FG Carney 26, :32.




First downs1626
Total Net Yards309415
Passing 232279
Punt Returns2-282-2
Kickoff Returns3-1285-76
Interceptions Ret.2-311-0
Sacked-Yards Lost3-294-28
Punts 4-48.53-48.7
Time of Possession23:4636:14



RUSHING—NFC, Peterson 8-48, Portis 5-18, White 1-7, Turner 2-4, Sellers 1-1, E.Manning 2-(minus 1). AFC, Lynch 6-48, Brown 7-41, Washington 2-22, Jones 6-21, McClain 3-5, Collins 1-0, Cutler 1-(minus 1).

PASSING—NFC, Brees 11-19-0-142, E.Manning 8-14-1-111, Warner 1-2-0-8. AFC, P.Manning 12-17-0-151, Collins 10-15-1-108, Cutler 7-15-1-48, Brown 0-0-0-0.

RECEIVING—NFC, S.Smith 6-89, Fitzgerald 5-81, Boldin 2-27, Peterson 2-15, Portis 2-8, White 1-26, Witten 1-8, Sellers 1-7. AFC, Gonzalez 6-98, Marshall 5-44, Wayne 4-45, Brown 4-27, Welker 3-23, Daniels 2-30, Johnson 2-29, Washington 1-6, Jones 1-3, Lynch 1-2.