NFC takeaways spark 55-41 win in Pro Bowl

January 31, 2011, 7:22 AM HST · Updated January 31, 7:22 AM
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By Fred Guzman

Given the final score, you would think that the defenses went on a Hawaiian holiday during Sunday’s Pro Bowl Game at Aloha Stadium. But that would be a very mistaken conclusion.

The NFC routed the AFC 55-41 largely because of some sensational defensive plays resulting in seven turnovers, five of which were converted into touchdowns.

In fact, despite the record for combined points, MVP honors were rightfully stolen – make that, earned, — by Washington cornerback DeAngelo Hall.

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In the first quarter, Hall intercepted a Philip Rivers pass intended for Brandon Lloyd in the end zone. In the second period, Hall stripped Wes Welker of the ball, recovered the fumble and returned it 34 yards for a TD and 28-0 NFC lead.

The NFC opened up a 42-0 lead in the second quarter before the AFC responded to make things more interesting in the second half.

Of the AFC’s first 18 passes, four were intercepted, with three leading to touchdowns.

And all of the defensive fireworks although Pro Bowl rules prevent those units from blitzing, stunting or using elaborate zone defenses.

After ending a run of three decades at Aloha Stadium when the event was held in Miami last year, the Pro Bowl returned to Hawaii for this season and will be played at Aloha Stadium again next year before returning to the mainland for at least two more years.

It’s all part of a plan by the NFL to play the game the week before the Super Bowl at the site of the championship game. NFL players, however, have vocally expressed a preference for staging the game in Hawaii.

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