Monday, January 28, 2013
Wake-up: AFC North in the Pro Bowl
By Jamison Hensley
If this was the final Pro Bowl, the AFC North had some memorable performances in it. Wide receivers A.J. Green and Josh Cribbs combined for four touchdowns, and Browns kicker Phil Dawson delivered the most unusual play. He tried an onside kick in which he hit the ball with his heel.
In the end, the NFC won 62-35 in a game that resembled a Madden video game more than the NFL. NFL officials said earlier in the week that the league wants to decide the future of the Pro Bowl by the time next season's schedule is released in April. Of course, the players want to keep the game going. No one can blame them for wanting free trips to Hawaii. But, like most cases, I don't like sitting there for three hours looking at video of you on vacation.
RAVENS: The Ravens didn't participate in the Pro Bowl because they have a bigger bowl to play in. The Baltimore Sun's Mike Preston believes the biggest questions for the Ravens in Sunday's Super Bowl involve the 49ers' pistol offense. "San Francisco is more talented than Washington and Philadelphia," Preston wrote. "The 49ers have a physically dominating offensive line and a tough runner in Frank Gore. Quartebrack Colin Kaepernick likes to throw long and has two clutch receivers in Michael Crabtree and tight end Vernon Davis. Whether the Ravens succeed Sunday or not, there is one thing certain with The Pistol offense: It's going to be around for a short while."
BENGALS: Green had seven receptions for 119 yards and had three touchdowns in the Pro Bowl, becoming the seventh player in the game’s history to have three or more scores in the game. “I came out here to play and have fun plus they got me the ball,” Green said, via The Cincinnati Enquirer. “It’s an honor to be selected. All I do is go out here and work hard. I had a good game.” Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins had one tackle, and tight end Jermaine Gresham caught one pass for five yards.
STEELERS: No real Pro Bowl storyline for the Steelers, who had one player (center Maurkice Pouncey) in the game. In other news, Hines Ward told The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the Steeler's young receivers (Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders) didn't step up this season. "They have a bunch of young, talented guys," Ward said . "The organization chose to go young and in a different direction. My argument was, 'Great, but I don't think any of those guys other than Mike Wallace were in crucial situations to ask them to carry the load." Ward added, "Hopefully, the light bulb will turn on for those guys and they'll understand what the profession is on and off field."
BROWNS: The Pro Bowl could've been the final time that Dawson and Cribbs wore a Browns helmet. Both are unrestricted free agents. Cribbs finished with three catches for 56 yards and one touchdown. He also added a 32-yard kickoff. Dawson contributed five extra points because there's no need for 40-yard field goals in a game where defenses don't like to tackle.