Delanie Walker held the ball in the end zone and waited for his teammates to celebrate.
They came from every direction: Left Tyler Seguin Jersey , right and even the bench.
The Tennessee Titans tight end 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.
Teammates mobbed him. Pittsburgh receiver Antonio Browns, Baltimore safety Eric Weddle, Jacksonville cornerback Jalen Ramsey and Steelers coach Mike Tomlin were among those who left the sideline to congratulate Walker.
”That’s as real as it gets in football,” Oakland quarterback Derek Carr said. ”You always want to win, especially with money on the line.”
The winning team got $64,000 each, double the losing team’s share.
”You’ve got guys on the sidelines saying, `I need that money,”’ Carr said.
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.
”I go all out all the time,” Miller said.
Although the game was more two-hand touch than hard-nosed football, there were plenty of defensive gems.
Arizona’s Patrick Peterson had two interceptions. Minnesota’s Harrison Smith returned a pick for a score. And two players took exception to one aggressive takedown. Tennessee left tackle Taylor Lewan and Oakland guard Kelechi Osemele had words for New Orleans defensive end Cameron Jordan after he drilled Indianapolis tight end Jack Doyle.
None of those plays compared to Miller’s game-clinching strip-sack.
”I knew Von was going to do it Anthony Mantha Jersey ,” Broncos teammate Aqib Talib said. ”When it’s clutch time, crunch time, that’s what he does. We needed a play, and Von went and did what he does.”
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.
Jordan, New Orleans running back Mark Ingram and others 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 Miami’s 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. Both got luxury cars to go along with trophies.
”He’s a Super Bowl MVP and now a Pro Bowl MVP as well,” Talib said of Miller. ”Another accolade for him. The more accolades you get, the more people expect from you.”
The NFC looked like it would coast to a victory early as two Minnesota Vikings made big plays a week earlier than they wanted (Super Bowl) and a week later than they needed (NFC championship game).
Adam Thielen had a touchdown reception on the opening drive, and Smith returned an interception 79 yards for a score as the NFC opened up a 20-3 lead at halftime.
But the NFC failed to hold onto the lead. Goff threw incomplete on two fourth-down passes late as Saints coach Sean Payton tried to keep drives alive and milk the clock.
That was the opening Carr, Walker and Miller needed.
”I think it makes it more exciting for the fans for us to put on a show like that and go down to the last minute and win the game,” said Walker Darren Helm Jersey , who also caught a 4-yard TD pass from Smith in the third.
Hue Jackson wasn’t going to turn the Browns offense over to just anyone.
Todd Haley met his high standards.
After operating for two seasons as both Cleveland’s coach and offensive coordinator, Jackson hired Haley to take over his offense following the assistant’s six successful seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Haley wasn’t on Jackson’s radar after the Browns went 0-16 this season. But after Haley was fired by the Steelers following an opening-round loss to Jacksonville in the AFC playoffs, Jackson didn’t waste a moment and swooped in to nab the 50-year-old, who previously coached in Kansas City and is regarded as one of the league’s elite coordinators.
”He has been a guy that has adjusted his offense to successfully complement and taken advantage of the skillset of his personnel,” Jackson said.
”I’ve witnessed firsthand how prolific his offenses have been in the AFC North over the last six seasons. If I was going to turn over the play calling duties to someone else, it had to be to someone that was experienced and had a long history of success in this league. We were going to be patient about it because there is always a lot of movement in the early part of the offseason.
”When Todd became available, I jumped at the opportunity to meet with him. Once we sat down and talked, it became quickly evident that Todd would be a great fit.”
The Browns made Haley’s hiring official on Wednesday. The Associated Press and other media outlets reported the move earlier this week.
With Pittsburgh, Haley oversaw the Steelers’ talented offense featuring Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. He won’t have as much to work with in Cleveland, but the Browns are expected to take a quarterback with No. 1 overall draft pick.
”This is a great opportunity,” said Haley, who went 19-26 with the Chiefs and led them to a division title in 2010. ”The Browns have a great history Duncan Keith Jersey , great fans and deserve to have some fun and experience some winning. I want to help be part of that process.
”There is obviously a lot of work to do in order to get there, but I’ve always been excited about facing a challenge. There is no better feeling than when you can be a part of turning an organization around.
”Hue and I have had some good battles in competing against each other as coordinators and even as a head coach.”
The Browns announced the additions of Freddie Kitchens as running backs coach/associate head coach and Amos Jones special teams coordinator. Those moves were also previously reported.
Haley’s arrival is a much-needed infusion for the Browns, who have gone 1-31 in two seasons under Jackson. He knows his way around the league and especially the AFC North after 21 years as a pro coach.
Granted, the Steelers had some elite players, but Haley got the most out of them. With Roethlisberger running the show, Pittsburgh’s offense ranked in the top 10 in scoring and yards in each of the past four seasons.
Brown has developed into perhaps the league’s top playmaker with five straight 100-catch seasons and Bell is a dual threat as runner and receiver.
Jackson was reluctant to give up play-calling duties. He was Cincinnati’s offensive coordinator for two seasons before joining the Browns, and was confident he would continue to have success as the play caller. But Cleveland’s offense has sputtered and finished last in the league in scoring this past season.
Haley knows Jackson’s thirst to succeed.
”He’s so competitive and winning is the only thing that’s important to him,” he said. ”You want to work with a coach like that. Hue and I share a lot of similar beliefs on how to be successful on offense. We have to score points, protect the ball, protect the quarterback and develop players. It’s not too complicated, but at the same time, it is a great challenge. We are really looking forward to getting to work on it.”