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Putting On A Show


Portions of Sunday night's Pro Bowl looked like the AFC vs. the Atlanta Falcons.

Maybe it's because the Falcons had a franchise-high nine players and the entire coaching staff in the game, but it had much more to do with how those players were utilized.

From the start, the Falcons looked determined to leave an imprint on the NFL's all-star game in Hawaii, which ended with the NFC victorious — 55-41 over the AFC.

The NFC got the scoring underway with a 1-yard rushing touchdown by Falcons fullback Ovie Mughelli. From there, the NFC built up a 42-0 lead before halftime, with the Falcons playing quite a hand in the lopsided score.

Tony Gonzalez scored a touchdown on a pass from Matt Ryan, making Gonzalez the all-time leader in Pro Bowl touchdowns with six in his 11 appearances.

Ryan later hit Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald with a 25-yard scoring pass. Of the six scoring plays for the NFC in the first half, the Falcons had a hand in all but two of them.

"They definitely have some horses (on the AFC side) and we knew they could get going the same way against us, but I was a little bit surprised that we came out and executed as well as we did," Ryan told Fox's Jay Glazer after the game.

Defensively, cornerback Brent Grimes showed out. Grimes, who was added to the NFC Pro Bowl roster as a reserve when Green Bay corner Charles Woodson wasn't going to make the game because of the Super Bowl, picked off AFC quarterback Peyton Manning in the first half and dominated the cornerback spot with spectacular plays throughout the game.

Ryan led the NFC in passing, completing 9-of-13 passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, Roddy White and Gonzalez led the NFC in receiving — White with five catches for 69 yards and Gonzalez with three receptions for 42 yards.

"It's still man-to-man coverage on the outside with some of the best DBs in the world going against some of the best wide receivers," Ryan said. "It was a lot of fun, and you've still got to make those plays and our guys did."

Michael Turner racked up 53 yards rushing on eight carries. John Abraham had one tackle in the game.

Tyson Clabo started at right tackle for the NFC. Eric Weems was very active on the NFC's special teams.

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