Monday, February 5, 2001
home page local news opinion business island life sports
AP Sports
University of Hawaii
High Schools
Surf Report
Golf Guide
Classified Ads
Restaurant Guide
Business Directory

Posted on: Monday, February 5, 2001

Gruden's plan passed

NFC folds under AFC's nonstop aerial barrage

By Kyle Sakamoto
Advertiser Staff Writer

Jon Gruden let his players know right away about his intention to throw the football.

Torry Holt of the NFC’s St. Louis Rams, far left, celebrates a touchdown with teammate Terrell Owens of the San Francisco 49ers. The two wide receivers had little else to celebrate, though, in a 38-17 loss to the AFC in yesterday’s Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium.

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

The AFC coach didn’t disappoint yesterday as the AFC defeated the NFC, 38-17, in the Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium.

"We let them know coming in there aren’t going to be a lot of runs," said Gruden, coach of the Oakland Raiders. "We wanted to showcase the quarterbacks and skill guys today. The backs caught the ball. They ran it when they had their opportunities."

NFC coach Dennis Green had the same pass-happy philosophy as both teams set a Pro Bowl record by combining for 98 pass attempts. The NFC, which was behind from the very beginning, threw a record 56 passes. Its three quarterbacks completed 28 passes for 297 yards, but were intercepted three times.

The AFC’s quarterbacks were more efficient.

Oakland’s Rich Gannon, Indianapolis’ Peyton Manning and Kansas City’s Elvis Grbac combined to complete 32 of 42 passes for 369 yards and four touchdowns.

On the game’s first drive, Gannon completed all six of his passes for 78 yards. The drive culminated with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Tony Gonzalez of the Chiefs.

On the AFC’s second drive, Gannon completed 6 of 8 passes for 82 yards. The drive ended on a 10-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Harrison of the Colts.

"He ran a little post route," Gannon said. "We had an option route for the tight end. I saw it was three-deep, single coverage outside and I had a good feeling Marvin would win."

Gannon, who was already nursing a separated shoulder and broken clavicle, left the game for good after the second drive. He won the Dan McGuire Award as the Player of the Game.

With NFC defensive end Hugh Douglas stalking him, AFC QB Rich Gannon gets ready to launch one downfield.

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

"It’s maybe something I can look back on 10, 15 years from now," Gannon said. "It’s being in the right place at the right time."

The NFC went three plays and out on its first two possessions. Daunte Culpepper of the Minnesota Vikings completed 1 of 6 passes for six yards on the first two drives.

"They got the opening kickoff and they were really sharp," said Green, coach of the Vikings. "Gannon, the MVP, played extremely well.

"It took a little while to get our rhythm on defense, and then we made a few mistakes. We had a couple of dropped balls on offense and fell behind."

On the AFC’s third possession, Manning picked up right where Gannon left off. Manning completed 7 of 9 passes for 48 yards. The drive ended when the Baltimore Ravens’ Matt Stover booted a 29-yard field goal 1:19 into the second quarter.

With 54 seconds remaining in the first half, Manning completed a 2-yard scoring strike to Jimmy Smith of the Jacksonville Jaguars. On the drive, Manning completed 4 of 7 passes for 41 yards.

On the AFC’s first drive of the second half, Manning completed all three of his passes for 35 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown pass to Harrison. The 36-yard drive took five plays and came after a failed on-side kick by the NFC. The touchdown gave the AFC a 31-10 lead.

"If you can’t complete some passes to some of these guys as a quarterback, you’ve got yourself a problem," said Manning, who completed passes to eight teammates.

Manning completed 16 of 22 passes for 150 yards.

Grbac took over late in the third quarter and finished 4-of-6 for 59 yards as the AFC tried to run out the clock.

"Those guys are pinpoint passers," said Green. "When you have the veteran guys with a lot of years in the league, they know a little bit better what to do with the ball against man coverage."

[back to top]

Home | Local News | Opinion | Business | Island Life | Sports
USA Today Scores | University of Hawaii Teams | High Schools Teams | Recreation | Surf Report
How to Subscribe | How to Advertise | Site Map | Terms of Service | Corrections

© COPYRIGHT 2001 The Honolulu Advertiser, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.