49ers, Raiders reps quiet in NFC's Pro Bowl win

49ers, Raiders reps quiet in NFC's Pro Bowl win

Jan. 30, 2011


HONOLULU (AP) A tropical rainstormmoved in from the Pacific and cleared just before the Pro Bowl began onSunday. What followed was a sloppy show that was not exactly rivetingentertainment a week in advance of the Super Bowl.The NFC's 55-41 victory, a game notnearly as interesting as that score would indicate, did nothing torepair the tattered image of the NFL's all-star contest.New England's Bill Belichick, the AFCcoach and a man of even fewer words than usual, might have come closestto summing up the game with his mumbled cliche, "It is what it is."MVP DeAngelo Hall had one of histeam's five interceptions and returned a fumble 34 yards for atouchdown to help the NFC match a Pro Bowl scoring record in a 55-41victory over turnover-prone AFC. He gets a new Cadillac for hisefforts."I was just about to buy anotherSUV," the Washington Redskins cornerback said, "so to come out here andgrab one for free, I like that."AFC quarterbacks Philip Rivers,Peyton Manning and Matt Cassel each threw first-half interceptions tohelp the NFC blow open a 42-0 lead in a performance ugly even by thehistorically low standards of this game.Fittingly for this strange contest,center Alex Mack of Cleveland scored the final touchdown on a 67-yardpass play that featured two laterals with 16 seconds left.Carolina's Jon Beason returned thefifth interception thrown by the AFC, and second by Matt Cassel, 59yards for the NFC's final touchdown to match the single-team scoringrecord set in the NFC's 55-52 victory in 2004."It feels amazing. It was a lot offun," Minnesota's Adrian Peterson said. "We came out and put up a bunchof points and had some fun doing it, so it was a good day."Belichick, after his Super Bowlfavorite Patriots lost to the New York Jets in the divisional playoffs,had to watch his AFC squad muddle through a first half that ended 42-7.Pro Bowls are, by their nature,laid-back affairs, seemingly played at half speed by players whosebiggest concern is to get on the plane home without injury.The AFC, though, took that attitude to an uncomfortable extreme early on before coming back to outscore the NFC 41-13.The NFC led 42-0 after StevenJackson waltzed through the AFC defense for a 21-yard touchdown - andthere still was 4 12 minutes left in the second quarter.Rivers, starting in place of injured Tom Brady, was picked off twice in the first quarter, the second by Hall."You underthrow one just a hair andthey intercept it," Rivers said. "You get a deflection for aninterception. ... They had all the breaks early."Manning, in his 11th Pro Bowl, cameon briefly in relief and his second pass was picked off. Then Casselgot his chance and quickly joined in the spirit of things, throwing hissecond pass of the game directly into the hands of Minnesota cornerbackAntoine Winfield.But just when it appeared it wouldbe the most one-sided game in Pro Bowl history, eclipsing the JoeTheismann-led 45-3 NFC rout of the AFC in 1984, the AFC scored threetouchdowns in a row. The last came on the game's seventh turnover, whenDevin Hester tried to hand the kickoff return to Hall, but the ballfell to the turf. Montell Owens of Jacksonville scooped it up and ranit in 10 yards for the score to make it 42-21 with 10 minutes left inthe third quarter.With his seven extra points, tying aPro Bowl record, along with two field goals, David Akers moved ahead ofMorten Andersen (45) for most career Pro Bowl points with 52. ThePhiladelphia kicker would have had more but his 36-yard field goal tryin the fourth quarter bounced off the right upright."Morten Andersen was a mentor ofmine and I competed with Morten for a job in Atlanta and he taught me alot," Akers said, "so it means a lot to be able to pass a legend likethat."The game returned to its traditionalhome in Hawaii after a one-year detour to Miami, much to the approvalof the players involved.Eagles quarterback Michael Vick started but played only the first quarter, completing 5 of 10 passes for 59 yards.Peterson rushed for 80 yards in 14carries for the NFC, including a 14-yarder to set a Pro Bowl recordwith four career rushing touchdowns. Atlanta got good performances fromMatt Ryan (9 of 13 for 118 yards and two touchdowns with aninterception), Michael Turner (eight carries for 53 yards) and RoddyWhite (five catches for 69 yards).Notes: A 70-yard punt by Mat McBriarof Dallas in the first quarter tied for second-longest in Pro Bowlhistory. ... The state of Hawaii is paying the NFL about 4 millionthis season and next to keep the Pro Bowl team in Honolulu. Locationfor the contest is up in the air after 2012. ... Peterson had been tiedwith three career rushing TDs with Earl Campbell, Chuck Muncie and MikeAlstott. ... Tony Gonzalez added to his Pro Bowl record for careerreceptions (42) and moved into first in TD catches with his sixth. ...The attendance of 49,338 was just shy of a sellout.

Inactives: Raiders RB Murray to play vs Jags; Watson remains out

Inactives: Raiders RB Murray to play vs Jags; Watson remains out

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Latavius Murray is active and ready to play Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. That was expected, as the top Raiders running back passed tests during the practice week that showed coaches he could go.

Right tackle Menelik Watson, however, needs another week. He was limited in each practice, and Austin Howard remained in the catbird’s seat there. Watson will miss a fourth straight game.

Howard will have a solid backup. Matt McCants is active for the first time since the season opener. Vadal Alexander is also out with an ankle injury, though the Raiders have eight offensive lineman dressed an ready for the first time since the opener.

The Raiders will be without some core special teams players. Brynden Trawick is out with a shoulder injury and Taiwan Jones is inactive. He was questionable with a knee injury.

That should hinder the Raiders special teams coverage in particular.

The Jaguars are healthy for this stage in the season, with their starting lineup intact heading into this game.

Here are the full inactives for both teams

Bortles, Carr still carry quarterback bond since NFL Draft

Bortles, Carr still carry quarterback bond since NFL Draft

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Derek Carr found a friend in Blake Bortles during the taxing, often invasive pre-NFL draft process. The pair were considered among 2014’s top college quarterbacks, with stats, size, smarts and arm strength to warrant a top selection.

The pair ended up visiting several of the same quarterback-needy teams leading up to the draft and national events like the NFL scouting combine.

They actually crossed paths in Jacksonville as both players were in to visit a Jaguars team in desperate need of a quarterback.

“We were in Jacksonville together, and then we were somewhere else together, I believe,” Bortles said. “I remember Jacksonville vividly because we went and got dinner together the night before.”

They exchanged numbers and texted each other during that spring. It started a friendship that continued on.

“We talk every now and then – I still have his number, still text him here and there,” Bortles said. “We’ll talk in the offseason and throughout the year, but he’s an unbelievable guy. He’s a guy that I definitely check and see how he’s doing throughout the year after every game and rooting for, and look forward to seeing him Sunday.”

Their paths cross again Sunday in Jacksonville, when the Raiders and Jaguars meet in a Week 7 clash important to both clubs. The 4-2 Raiders hope to surge ahead and erase a terrible home loss to Kansas City. The Jaguars want to expand on a two-game win streak.

These upstart clubs are dependent on big offense and steady play from quarterbacks selected two-plus years ago.

Jacksonville picked third, and had first crack at a 2014 quarterback class headlined by Teddy Bridgewater, Carr, Bortles and Johnny Manziel.

They took Bortles, with all his size, arm strength and Ben Roethlisberger comparisons. Cleveland made a colossal mistake and took Manziel, who flamed out after two hard-partying seasons with the Browns. Minnesota traded back into the first round and nabbed Bridgewater, a competent signal caller who suffered a major knee injury that stole his 2016 season at least.

The Raiders were patient, held on to their pick and still got their guy. They selected Carr No. 36 overall, paired him with No. 5 pick Khalil Mack and put the franchise on the right track.

Through two-plus seasons, Carr’s been the best of the bunch, and Bortles is solidly in second place. Carr’s been more productive, earned more wins and taken better care of the football. Both guys can be gunslingers, but Carr is a bit more measured.

Bortles exemplifies the term. He’s willing to take risks for great reward, a style the Raiders defense wants to exploit in this crucial meeting.

Jaguars offensive coordinator Greg Olson knows Carr and Bortles extremely well. He was the Raiders offensive coordinator during Carr’s rookie year, and the quarterback credits Olson for getting his NFL career off on the right foot.

He has worked with Bortles over the last two years and has played a major part in his development.

Olson sees similarities between these two passing talents and their development from rookie starters into their third professional seasons.

“Both guys are great competitors,” Olson told reporters in Jacksonville. “They are individuals who were thrown into the league and had to play early as rookies. Both guys have gone through changes in coordinators, but they are tremendous competitors and the both prepare extremely well. They’re both intelligent guys.”