Everson Griffen recorded 3.0 sacks to help give the NFC a fighting chance down the stretch, but the AFC survived with a 20-13 victory in the 2017 Pro Bowl in Orlando on Sunday night.
Griffen recorded sacks on consecutive possessions in the fourth quarter as he and the NFC tried to rally from a 20-10 deficit but it wasn't enough at Camping World Stadium in front of an announced attendance.
It was the second straight all-star game appearance for Griffen and Vikings teammates Anthony Barr and Harrison Smith. It was the first trip ever for Linval Joseph and Xavier Rhodes and the second trip for Cordarrelle Patterson.
The six Vikings participating in the Pro Bowl were the most in one game since seven Minnesota players participated after the 2012 season.
Below is a refresher on the rules of the game and a quarter-by-quarter recap.
Rules of the game
The game utilizes the following modified rules:
1) No kickoffs occur.
2) Offenses always have to have a running back and a tight end on the field.
3) Offenses are not allowed to use motions or shifts before the snap.
4) Defenses are not allowed to blitz. Denver linebacker Von Miller received a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for being a fifth AFC rusher on a play in the second quarter.
5) Defenses must use a 4-3 front with four defensive linemen and three linebackers, who are joined by four defensive backs.
6) All possessions after scores start at the offense's 25-yard line.
7) There is no penalty for intentional grounding.
First quarter recap:
Cordarrelle Patterson forced out Kansas City punt returner Tyreek Hill after a quick three-and-out by the NFC, which started Cowboys rookie Dak Prescott at quarterback. Patterson limited Hill to an 11-yard gain after a 59-yard punt by Johnny Hekker.
The AFC crossed midfield on its opening possession before Seattle's Bobby Wagner forced a fumble by Tennessee's DeMarco Murray that was recovered by Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett. Murray initially was ruled down, but Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett challenged the ruling, and officials overturned the call.
The NFC drove to the AFC 1-yard line, but Cowboys rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott was stuffed by Bills linebacker Zach Brown on fourth-and-goal.
Xavier Rhodes broke up a deep attempt by Chiefs QB Alex Smith to Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton on the following play, and Everson Griffen and Linval Joseph teamed on a tackle of Murray on the following snap.
The NFC attempted an unsuccessful fake punt with Giants safety Landon Collins with 2:01 left in the first quarter to give the ball back to the AFC near midfield.
View images of Vikings players during the 2017 Pro Bowl.
Second quarter recap:
Smith put the AFC on the board with a 26-yard touchdown pass to Titans tight end Delanie Walker on the first play. Walker caught a 9-yard pass from Smith to start the drive.
Saints QB Drew Brees replaced Prescott in the second quarter and led the NFC from the 25 to the AFC 4-yard line, but Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore intercepted Brees in the end zone.
Bengals QB Andy Dalton was intercepted by Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman on a deep attempt to Broncos receiver Emmanuel Sanders three plays later.
Brees connected with Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin for a 47-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7 with 6:26 left in the first half.
A 38-yard punt return by Hill with 2:30 remaining in the first half gave the AFC the ball at the NFC 38 and set up a 23-yard pass from Dalton to Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.
Third quarter recap:
The AFC controlled the clock in the third quarter, keeping the ball for 7:31 after halftime before finishing a drive with a 38-yard field goal by Baltimore's Justin Tucker.
Griffen sacked Dalton for a loss of 8 on a second-and-7 play to help force the field goal.
The NFC went a quick three-and-out, possessing the ball for only 55 seconds after a tipped pass resulted in an incompletion and Panthers tight end Greg Olsen dropped a pass that would have converted a third down.
Philip Rivers stepped in for the AFC with 6:34 left in the third quarter and led the unit on a long drive that was extended with a 7-yard completion from Chiefs punter/holder Dustin Colquitt to Kelce on a fake field goal late in the quarter.
Fourth quarter recap:
The AFC, however, was forced to settle for a 31-yard field goal by Tucker and a 20-7 lead with 14:12 remaining.
Washington's Kirk Cousins entered the game at QB for the NFC on the ensuing series and led a drive that ended with a 42-yard field goal by Detroit's Matt Prater to make it 20-10 with 9:31 left in the game. Cousins extended a play and found a streaking Odell Beckham, Jr. across the middle of the field, and the Giants receiver turned it into a 42-yard gain.
Griffen recorded his second sack of the game to force a quick three-and-punt by the AFC and give the NFC the ball back with 7:50 left in the game.
Cousins moved the NFC into field goal range with five straight completions, and Prater was successful from 46 yards to make it 20-13 with 4:29 to go.
The NFC recorded sacks on three consecutive AFC snaps, one by Griffen, one by Bennett and one by Seattle's Cliff Avril to force a punt with 2:39 left.
Cousins again moved the NFC down the field to the AFC 19, but a ball that tipped off Seattle tight end Jimmy Graham's hands was intercepted by Buffalo linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, who lateralled the football to Denver cornerback Aqib Talib.
Talib was chased down by Cousins, who forced a fumble after a long return, but officials ruled that the AFC recovered with 1:00 left to seal the game.