February 02, 2003
Pats Shine in AFC's 45-20 Win In Pro Bowl
BY: Ian Logue/PatsFans.com
HONOLULU, HI -- For the first time since their team beat the Miami Dolphins in overtime back on December 29th at Gillette Stadium, Patriots fans finally had something to cheer about.
They were treated to seeing six of their own play well in a 45-20 victory for the AFC over the NFC in the NFL's annual all-star game in Honolulu Hawaii.
Lawyer Milloy, Ty Law, Richard Seymour, Larry Izzo, Damien Woody, and Adam Vinatieri all took the field on Sunday and represented the New England Patriots for the AFC. The six players were the most the Patriots had sent since they last sent six following their AFC Championship season back in 1996.
One highlight to Sunday's game was cornerback Ty Law intercepting Tampa Bay quarterback Brad Johnson and returning it 43-yards for a touchdown, giving Law's team a 38-6 advantage in what for the most part was a one-sided game.
Law finished the contest with one tackle and three passes defensed along with the interception.
It was Law's third Pro Bowl Appearance.
Meanwhile Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri scored nine points in his first appearance in Honolulu, including a 20-yard field goal early in the third quarter to put the AFC up 31-6. Vinatieri was kept busy as the AFC reached the endzone often, and connected on all six extra point attempts.
The AFC took control of the game from the beginning, with Miami defensive end Jason Taylor knocking down a pass by 49er's quarterback Jeff Garcia and intercepting it, returning it 15-yards to the NFC 31-yard line.
Four plays later fellow Dolphin Ricky Williams ran the ball in from one-yard out for the touchdown, and Vinatieri knocked through the extra-point to give the AFC an early 7-0 advantage.
The NFC answered on their ensuing drive with a 45-yard field goal by David Akers, cutting the lead to 7-3, but the AFC came right back on their next drive.
Rich Gannon marched them from their own 29-yard line down the field on just 8-plays, with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez capping the drive, giving the AFC a 14-3 lead.
Following another interception by 49er's quarterback Jeff Garcia to Raiders defensive back Rod Woodson, the AFC had the ball at the NFC's 33-yard line. Seven plays later Gannon found Bills runningback Travis Henry from 13-yards out to extend the lead to 21-3.
After the NFC added a 53-yard field goal by Akers to cut the lead to 15, the AFC put the game out of reach with an 11-play 71-yard drive by former Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe that ended in a 1-yard touchdown run by Williams to increase the lead to 28-6 with just under a minute left before halftime.
Bledsoe opened the second half by marching the AFC 66-yards down to the NFC 2-yard line, but they would end up settling for a 20-yard field goal by Vinatieri to put them up 31-6.
After the AFC punted to begin to 4th quarter, Brad Johnson was picked off by Law while trying to connect with Bears receiver Marty Booker, and Law returned it 43-yards for the touchdown, extending the lead to 38-6.
Johnson was then intercepted on the NFC's next drive by Dolphins defensive back Sam Madison, and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning made them pay for it, taking them 66-yards on 6-plays and finishing with a touchdown pass to Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward for their final points of the afternoon and a 45-6 lead.
The NFC would later add two touchdowns on a 12-yard scoring grab by Saints receiver Joe Horn, and a 4-yard run by Tampa Bay runningback Mike Alstott, with both scores accounting for the NFC's final points.
GAME NOTES: Special teams standout Larry Izzo made two special teams tackles for the AFC….Lawyer Milloy finished with two tackles, while Richard Seymour made one….Neither team played well on 3rd down. The AFC was 3-for-12 (25%) while the NFC was 0-for-11.
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