Here we are at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Fla., and the 2010 Pro Bowl is just a few hours away. It has been a fun week of practice leading up to the actual game, and now the five Broncos participating in the all-star contest will look to lead the AFC to a W.
This blog will be a mix of the pregame blogs you’re used to seeing on gamedays on DenverBroncos.com and our typical live game blogs. The plan is to run down to the field to snap a few pregame photos before the contest, then as the game progresses, give you updates after big plays, scores and any contributions from the five Broncos.
Rather than use the typical live blog format, I’m just going to use the regular blog so I can include photos. In other words, just refresh every now and then for any updates to the post.
Right now, at 4:54 EST, there are no players on the field, and the gates haven’t opened yet, so there aren’t any fans in the stands, either. From where I sit, the left end zone is painted red for the AFC, and the right is blue for the NFC. I’m going to go get a feel for the best way to get down to the field, so I’ll be back in a while with some pregame snapshots. Stay tuned.
7:00 p.m. EST: Just got back up from the field — it’s a little different schedule for the Pro Bowl, and guys don’t come out of the tunnel until later. But I’ll crop some photos and put them up as soon as possible. At the moment, some band I’ve never heard of is playing. To be honest, they didn’t even announce the name of the band, so I have no clue who it is. But they keep singing “Here comes trouble again.” If anybody knows who sings that…let me know in the comments.
7:27 p.m. EST: Turns out the name of the band is “Honor Society,” and they are singing the National Anthem. Here are a few pictures of the Broncos in their all-star garb, minutes away from kickoff.
7:31 p.m. EST: It’s time for the coin toss — and Brian Dawkins was one of the captains who trotted out to midfield for the AFC. The AFC will receive — and Joshua Cribbs is back deep to field the kickoff to begin the game. From here on out I’ll keep you up to date with any big plays, and of course any contributions made by the five Broncos in the game — Champ Bailey, Ryan Clady, Dawkins, Elvis Dumervil and Brandon Marshall. Just refresh your brower occasionally for updates.
AFC 7, NFC 0: The AFC strikes first on a play with Marshall in at wide receiver on the left side of the field. Matt Schaub looked to his right, however, connecting with his Texans teammate Andre Johnson for a 33-yard touchdown with 11:53 remaining in the first quarter.
AFC 14, NFC 3: After an NFC field goal, Brandon Marshall gets involved, hauling in a 23-yard touchdown pass from Schaub. He hauled in the pass at about the 4-yard line, pulling his defender into the end zone. He’s being congratulated by Chad Ochocinco on the sideline right now.
Now the kickoff unit is on the field, and it includes both Bailey and Dawkins. Dawkins is dancing as Miami’s Dan Carpenter prepares to kick.
1st Quarter, 6:59: This crowd wants action — Carpenter’s kick went five yards deep into the end zone and was downed for a touchback, which was met with boos from the Sun Life Stadium crowd.
1st Quarter, 5:38: Aaron Rodgers bought all the time in the world in the backfield, but when he let loose a pass intended for Adrian Peterson, Dumervil was right there with him to break up the pass.
AFC 14, NFC 10 The Pro Bowl is supposed to be all about offense, as evidenced by Mario Williams letting up with a sack of Aaron Rodgers in his reach early in the game. And it isn’t disappointing thus far — Steve Smith just caught a 48-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers with Bailey in coverage.
2nd Quarter, 13:25: For the past couple drives, there haven’t been any Broncos in the game as players rotate in and out. Now Bailey is in as the NFC is threatening at the 6-yard line. He made a tackle earlier in the drive to force a third down. And on a 3rd-and-3 at the 7-yard line, Dumervil has entered the lineup.
NFC 17, AFC 14 The NFC convered that third down for a score on a screen pass to DeSean Jackson. Now the AFC kickoff return unit is on the field, and Dumervil is in to help block for Cribbs — not a sight you’d typically see on Sundays throughout the season.
2nd Quarter, 9:37: The crowd is doing “The Wave” as the AFC is driving down the field. Jets center Nick Mangold, who is on the sideline next to Clady, is doing his part when the cheer gets to his section.
AFC 17, NFC 17 We’re all knotted up after a 30-yard Dan Carpenter field goal.
All-Decade Update: Just saw that Ty Law has also been named to the All-Decade Team alongside Bailey and Dawkins. Congratulations to him.
2nd Quarter, 4:41: All three Broncos defenders are in the game — Bailey, Dawkins and Dumervil — with the NFC at its own 42-yard line. It’s third-and-10 after a near-interception by Yeremiah Bell and an incompletion by Donovan McNabb. On the ensuing play, Dawkins makes the tackle on a scrambling McNabb — but it’s good for a first down.
2nd Quarter, 3:32: An exciting turn of events: LaMarr Woodley just returned an interception for a touchdown, but a 12-men-on-the-field penalty on the defense brought it back. A facemask by Vernon Davis right before the touchdown nullified the defense’s penalty, meaning the down would be repeated.
BRONCOS QUOTES: Just got some quotes in the press box from two of the Denver Pro Bowlers, Marshall and Dawkins.
First, Marshall on his first Pro Bowl touchdown catch:
“That was my first touchdown catch because last year I dropped Peyton Manning’s touchdown and he gave me a hard stare. It feels good to get my first touchdown. My aunt is here, she’s probably my biggest fan and every time I score a touchdown she asks for the ball. I’m going to get that ball to her.”
Marshall, on playing back in his home state:
“It feels great. We’ve got a lot of people down here celebrating this wonderful event with me, and we are going to enjoy it and enjoy this game.”
Dawkins, on his first Pro Bowl as a member of the AFC:
“Well, obviously it’s a whole bunch of new faces fo rme. It’s guys I haven’t played with over the years, so I’m building some new acquaintances over here on the AFC side. It was a little strange at first during our initial meeting, but there are great guys on this side also.”
Dawkins, on the game being an offensive battle:
“We’ve got to make sure when they do have drives down the field that we keep them kicking field goals. We can’t give up the big balls and we’ll see if we can pull this thing out.”
2nd Quarter, 1:52: After a few drives on the sidelines, Clady is back in the game at right tackle. If you missed that development, here’s a story on why he’s manning the right side. Let’s see if the AFC decides to try to drive down the field before halftime. My guess? Absolutely.
2nd Quarter, 0:54: David Garrard nearly connected with Vincent Jackson for a touchdown on first down, but the pass fell incomplete. After an incompletion on second down and a short scramble by Garrard on third down, the AFC went for it on fourth down — but Garrard’s pass fell incomplete. Now the NFC take over at its own 42-yard line, and we’ll see if they in turn decide to shoot for a score before the half.
HALFTIME: The first half comes to a close after a 65-yard Cribbs punt return lead to a missed Dan Carpenter field goal attempt. The score remains tied at 17. In the meantime, here are a few pictures from the first half of action, courtesy of AP Images.
SECOND HALF UNDERWAY: Two plays into the second half, Donovan McNabb connected with his Philadelphia teammate, DeSean Jackson, for a 58-yard touchdown. But two plays into the AFC’s ensuing drive, Garrard connected with Vincent ackson for a 48-yard touchdown. Quite the offensive shootout, as the score is tied at 24 just 1:41 into the second half.
3rd Quarter, 13:13: One of the most interesting chains of events in the game was started by a Bronco. Dawkins intercepted a pass from his former teammate, Donovan McNabb, and looked as if he would be tackled. But he lateraled the ball to Bailey, who sprinted down the sideline. Just as Bailey was about to get stopped, he lateraled the ball to Darrelle Revis. Then when Revis fell to the ground, he tossed the ball over the back of his head — technically a fumble — and it was finally recovered by Dawkins.
AFC 31, NFC 24 The interception/fumble recovery on the same play by Dawkins eventually resulted in a Maurice Jones-Drew touchdown to put the AFC ahead by a touchdown.
AFC 34, NFC 24 Dan Carpenter knocks home a 26-yard field goal to extend the AFC lead after a drive that saw Clady in at right tackle. And on the ensuing kickoff, Marshall is back in the game, acting as a gunner on the near sideline. He doesn’t get the chance to make a special teams tackle, however, as the kick is downed in the end zone for a touchback.
AFC 31, NFC 31 A 7-yard touchdown run by Carolina’s DeAngelo Williams cuts into the AFC lead. Now the kickoff return unit is in, and it once again includes Dumervil as a blocker.
4th Quarter, 13:54: Vince Young just threw an interception to Asante Samuel, who caught it inside the 5-yard line. He returned it 35 yards, but went down at the feet of Clady, who was waiting to make sure the cornerback didn’t get any farther.
4th Quarter, 12:43: Bailey just sniffed out a bubble screen to Roddy White and brought him down in the backfield for a loss of three, forcing a third-and-13. On the next play, Tony Romo was sacked by Houston’s Mario Williams, and the NFC had to settle for a David Akers field goal — good from 39 yards out to tie the game at 34.
UPDATE: I’ve just been alerted that with seven minutes left in the game, we’re allowed to head down to the field so that we’re ready to snag postgame interviews. That’s what I’ll be doing, so the blog will be cut a little short before the final result is decided. I apologize for that, but it will hopefully be worth it when we get GOLDEN quotes from our guys on the field. Thanks for sticking with the blog tonight — it’s been an entertaining night from South Florida so far. As I’m finishing up this update, the AFC is about to go for it on fourth-and-2 — and Schaub, who is back in the game, connects with his Texans teammate Andre Johnson once again to keep the drive alive at the NFC 44.
Well, I’m headed down to the field with the AFC driving in the NFC red zone. We will post a story and Broncos TV coverage later this evening from South Florida.
-Gray Caldwell, DenverBroncos.com
UPDATE: Sorry for the delay in posts. We made it back to the hotel to finish up our stories after snagging interviews on the field and in the locker room. As you probably know by now, the AFC came away with a 41-34 victory after a defensive stand — an interception, to be exact — helped seal the game.
You can check out our top story from the Pro Bowl here.