January 27, 2013

Brees, Evans, Bushrod Start Pro Bowl for NFC

First-team NFC Pro Bowlers RG Jahri Evans and Thomas Morstead were joined by teammates QB Drew Brees and LT Jermon Bushrod in the starting lineup in today's Pro Bowl.  Brees and Bushrod were elevated from alternates to starters via injury and Super Bowl team exemptions from the Pro Bowl game in Hawaii.

On the first play of the Pro Bowl, Brees handed off to Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson, who fumbled the ball away to the AFC on the exchange.

Brees would throw the first touchdown for the NFC to Bucs WR Vincent Jackson from 36 yards out, and complete passes to Jackson, Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph, Cowboys TE Jeremy Witten, Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald and Giants WR Victor Cruz.  He was sacked by Dolphins LB Cameron Wake on his last snap in the first quarter, and was replaced by Giants QB Eli Manning.  Brees completed 8/11 passes for 131 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter.

Morstead, who also extra on extra points and field goals for Minnesota PK Blair Walsh, had an interesting, exciting play in the fourth quarter when a field goal was attempted by the NFC from the AFC 13 yard line.  The kick was jumped by Antonio Cromartie - penalized for being offsites - and forced Morstead to pull up.  Morstead under duress attempted a pass to his right, a decent spiral that hung in the air and which was intercepted by Chiefs S Eric Berry.  With Morstead in pursuit, Berry returned the interception for a would-be touchdown, crossing the field diagonally on his way.  But was chased the entire length of the field by Morstead, who caught and tackled Berry at the goal line.  It was a welcome sign of hustle and effort from a player in the Pro Bowl, especially on a play that would clearly come back because Cromartie was offsides.

Jermon Bushrod, starting at left tackle for the NFC, was flagged for false start in the third quarter.  Bushrod started on the line and on special teams with Evans, who along with Morstead was named a Pro Bowl starter in December.

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