ORLANDO — The Pro Bowl has long been considered a laughable representation of the NFL game.
It reached a new level of comedy Sunday as several players swapped positions in the annual all-star game.
Jacksonville cornerback Jalen Ramsey caught a touchdown pass in the final minute, capping a dominant performance for the AFC defense in a 26-7 victory over the NFC in steady rain. It was the third consecutive victory for the AFC, all of them at Camping World Stadium.
The last two were played in sloppy weather, with the latest one also coming amid temperatures in the mid-50s. It was far from ideal conditions, raising speculation about the game’s future in Orlando, but fairly fitting, considering the effort players provided. It was two-hand touch most of the day, with officials blowing plays dead at a hint of contact.
“Who cares, man?” Jets safety Jamal Adams said. “At the end of the day, we’re like little kids out there just playing in the mud, playing in the rain.”
Regardless of the elements, the AFC made the plays the NFC didn’t.
Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes completed an 18-yard touchdown pass to Indianapolis’ Eric Ebron on the opening possession, helping Mahomes earn the offensive Most Valuable Player award. Mahomes pleaded with voters to give it to Kansas City fullback Anthony Sherman, who caught three passes for 92 yards and ran for a score.
“Sherman had my vote,” said Mahomes, who completed 7 of 14 passes for 156 yards. “He made some plays out there. For a fullback, we have one of the best in the league, so I’m always happy to try to get him a little vote like that.”
Adams was named the defensive MVP after an interception and a sack.
“It’s a great achievement, but the main thing was to come out here and get the victory,” Adams said. “That was the main thing, just to get the money, man. That’s what we wanted.”
Mahomes and Adams each got a luxury vehicle.
AFC players will get $67,000 each for the victory, $8,000 more than the players who lose the Super Bowl on Sunday in Atlanta. The Pro Bowl losers will get $39,000 each.
Ramsey got on offense late, catching a 6-yard slant pass from Houston’s Deshaun Watson with 19 seconds remaining. Los Angeles Chargers rookie safety Derwin James failed to haul in the 2-point conversion.
“Man, me and Deshaun, that’s my brother from another mother,” Ramsey said. “We’ve been plotting and scheming all week, manifesting, and it just came about.”
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott, Tampa Bay receiver Mike Evans and New Orleans’ Alvin Kamara all got on defense for the NFC. Evans had an interception.
The AFC led 20-0 early in the fourth quarter, looking like it might record the first Pro Bowl shutout, but Dallas’ Dak Prescott found Atlanta’s Austin Hooper for a 20-yard score on fourth down with 9:09 left.
Seattle’s Russell Wilson was sacked four times.
Mark Long is an Associated Press writer.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/AFC-wins-3rd-straight-Pro-Bowl-26-7-over-NFC-in-13565971.php.