Sunday, February 10, 2002

AFC outguns NFC to win Pro Bowl

Gannon wins MVP for second straight year

Enquirer news services

        HONOLULU — Oakland quarterback Rich Gannon became the first two-time Pro Bowl MVP after leading the AFC to a 38-30 victory over the NFC on Saturday.

        “You look around and you've got the best receivers, the best tight end, and the best line,” said Gannon, also the MVP last year. “It's like a dream come true for a quarterback.”

        Gannon threw two touchdown passes, including a 55-yard strike to Marvin Harrison for the squad's first score after trailing 10-0. He completed eight of 10 passes for 137 yards and the teams combined for 34 first-quarter points, the most points in a quarter in the Pro Bowl.

        “It's awesome, did you see him?” AFC backup quarterback Tom Brady said. “He does a great job seeing the whole field. It's something I'm trying to pick up on.”

        Bengals running back Corey Dillon carried six times for 58 yards. He was the only Bengal on the squad.

        Six days after leading the New England Patriots to a Super Bowl win, Brady was the third-string quarterback. The 24-year-old Super Bowl MVP waited patiently on the sideline for his turn.

        Brady finally got his chance with 14:16 left, with the AFC well on its way to winning its fifth Pro Bowl in six years.

        “You get bored sitting there watching,” Brady said. “I'm used to playing.”

        A human rainbow of red, white and blue covered the field in a patriotic pregame ceremony that featured a bald eagle soaring through the stadium and a flyover by Hawaii Air National Guard F-15s. The temperature at kickoff was 74 degrees and the sun came out a day after both teams canceled practice because of a downpour.

        Brady finished 2-of-5 for 22 yards and an interception to Washington's Champ Bailey that led to an NFC touchdown. He hadn't been picked off since outdueling Gannon in the Pats' 16-13 overtime playoff victory in the snow last month in Foxboro, Mass.

        Oakland receiver Tim Brown knew Gannon would make an impression no matter how limited his playing time.

        “He just gets the job done and makes plays,” Brown said.

        One member of the Super Bowl champions did dazzle. Ty Law intercepted Donovan McNabb's pass late in the game and ran 31 yards before pitching the ball to Ray Lewis, who went 13 yards for the AFC's final touchdown. It's not just the pretty plays that make a Pro Bowl.

        Gannon raised his throwing arm into the air to celebrate an ugly 30-yard completion to Troy Brown in the first quarter. Gannon handed off to Priest Holmes, who pitched the ball back to Gannon and he threw a wobbly pass downfield that was so underthrown that Brown had to run several yards back toward the line of scrimmage to haul it in. Holmes went on to score on the drive.

        AFC ....... 21 7 0 10—38
        NFC ....... 13 3 0 14—30

        First Quarter

        NFC—Green 2 run (Akers kick), 14:33.
        NFC—FG Akers 29, 11:30.
        AFC—Harrison 55 pass from Gannon (Elam kick), 10:32.
        AFC—Martin 4 run (Elam kick), 8:36.
        AFC—Holmes 39 run (Elam kick), 4:43.
        NFC—FG Akers 41, :00.

       Second Quarter
        AFC—Dilger 18 pass from Gannon (Elam kick), 12:03.
        NFC—FG Akers 49, :06.

       Fourth Quarter
        NFC—Owens 8 pass from McNabb (Akers kick), 8:12.
        AFC—FG Elam 38, 3:42.
        AFC—Lewis 13 interception return (Elam kick), 2:49.
        NFC—Hearst 14 pass from McNabb (Akers kick), 1:32.


        RUSHING—AFC, Holmes 7-77, Dillon 6-58, Martin 8-44, Stewart 2-20, Centers 3-5, Brady 3-(minus 3), Gannon 1-0, Ward 1-0. NFC, Faulk 5-12, McNabb 1-12, Alstott 2-11, Garcia 1-1, Green 2-0, Warner 1-0.

        PASSING—AFC, Stewart 6-12-0-45, Gannon 8-10-0-137, Brady 2-5-1-22, Martin 0-1-0-0. NFC, McNabb 12-25-2-149, Garcia 11-19-0-111, Warner 6-14-1-63.

        RECEIVING—AFC, Harrison 4-80, Holmes 3-7, Tr.Brown 2-41, J.Lewis 2-27, Ward 2-17, Centers 2-14, Dilger 1-18. NFC, Owens 8-122, Johnson 6-50, Boston 3-39, Hearst 3-37, Green 3-29, Chamberlain 2-22, Faulk 2-13, C.Lewis 1-7, Alstott 1-4.

        • BILLS:

        The team hired former San Diego coach Kevin Gilbride as its offensive coordinator. He replaces Mike Sheppard, who was fired Jan.25 after one season.

        Gilbride, 50, coached the Chargers in 1997 and part of the 1998 season, going 6-16. He then spent two seasons as offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh before being fired in December, 2000.


        The team hired DeWayne Walker as its secondary coach Friday. Walker succeeds Johnnie Lynn, who was promoted to defensive coordinator on Thursday.


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