Feb 4, 2023; Paradise, NV, USA; NFL coach Eli Manning (left) talks with Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) during practice at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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Kirk Cousins, NFC top AFC at first-ever ‘Pro Bowl Games’

Kirk Cousins connected with George Kittle on a 12-yard touchdown pass and scrambled away from a blitz to hit Minnesota Vikings teammate Justin Jefferson on the one-point conversion to lift the NFC to a victory over the AFC in the inaugural Pro Bowl Games on Sunday in Las Vegas.

The NFC beat the AFC 27-21 in the final tally, which awarded points for three short flag football games and a host of skills events that ranged from “Best Catch” to “Kick-Tac-Toe.”

The NFC, which trailed 9-3 after Thursday’s slate of skills competitions, tied the score at 21 entering the final flag football game. Cousins threw three touchdown passes, besting Derek Carr’s two for the AFC in likely his last appearance in Las Vegas as a member of the Raiders. The NFC won the decisive game 35-33 after Carr found Dawson Knox for a late touchdown but the AFC failed to convert a two-point attempt.

Eli Manning coached the NFC team and Peyton Manning did the same for the AFC. The brothers’ production company was also responsible for “reimagining” the all-star exhibition that had drawn criticism over the years for its lackluster showings as players did not want to risk injury.

Ironically, the format change — featuring 7-on-7 games that followed standard flag football rules — did not prevent injuries for all. Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett reportedly suffered a dislocated toe during one of the flag contests.

Tyler Huntley — the Baltimore Ravens’ backup quarterback, in the game as a reserve — threw four touchdowns in the first game, two to Baltimore teammate Mark Andrews, but Geno Smith of the Seattle Seahawks beat that with five touchdowns as the NFC won the first flag game 33-27.

Stefon Diggs, who also lost the “Best Catch” final to Detroit Lions wideout Amon-Ra St. Brown, caught the go-ahead touchdown for the AFC to ultimately win the second flag game 18-13.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
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