Cunningham, Walker Lead NFC in Pro Bowl
Randall Cunningham displayed his knack for improvisation, and Herschel Walker showed how tough he is to stop near the goal line as the NFC routed the AFC, 34-3, in Sunday’s Pro Bowl.
Cunningham, voted the game’s Most Valuable Player, completed 10 of 14 passes for 83 yards and rushed twice for 49 more yards. The Dallas Cowboys’ Walker scored 2 touchdowns.
“We’ve taken the short end of the stick the past couple of years,” Walker said, referring to the NFC’s having lost the last two previous Pro Bowls. “We were fired up this time.”
Cunningham, the Philadelphia Eagle quarterback making his Pro Bowl debut, made a couple of spectacular plays by turning broken plays into healthy gains.
“The key was just not giving up until the end of the plays,” he said.
“When I found out I had won the MVP I was really fired up; I mean, Herschel had 2 touchdowns . . . “
Chicago’s Mike Ditka, coach of the NFC All-Stars, said, “With the talent we had, it would have taken a lot of bad coaching to mess it up.”
New Orleans kicker Morten Andersen added a pair of field goals for the winners, including a Pro Bowl record 51-yarder.
The NFC led 14-3 at halftime, then took complete command with 10 points each in the third and fourth quarters.
Neal Anderson of the Chicago Bears, another first-timer in the Pro Bowl, also was an offensive standout for the NFC. He rushed for 85 yards in 13carries and caught 2 passes for 17 more yards.
Houston quarterback Warren Moon led the AFC with 13 completions in 20 attempts for 134 yards. But, after going 10 for 11 for 98 yards in the first half of his initial Pro Bowl, Moon was pressured by the NFC defense in the second and had trouble throwing the ball on target.
“When you get behind, the defense comes right at you,” Moon said. “They know you have to throw the ball.”
Marv Levy of Buffalo, the AFC coach, said: “We played a lackluster game. I feel badly. You don’t play any game, including an All-Star game, without wanting to win.”
“As we didn’t make the plays, our enthusiasm waned; as they made the plays, their enthusiasm increased.”
Walker’s first touchdown, a 4-yard run, put the NFC ahead, 7-3. Then John Settle of the Atlanta Falcons made it 14-3 on a 1-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-goal midway through the second quarter.
With Cunningham at the controls in the third quarter, the NFC added a 27-yard field goal by Andersen and a 7-yard touchdown run by Walker.
A 51-yard field goal by Andersen, which broke the Pro Bowl record of 48 yards, set by Jan Stenerud in 1972, and an 8-yard touchdown pass from Minnesota’s Wade Wilson to the Rams’ Henry Ellard closed out the scoring.
The NFC defense, led by ends Chris Doleman of Minnesota and Charles Mann of Washington, limited the AFC to a 38-yard field goal by Buffalo’s Scott Norwood in the early moments of the game.
The NFC, which had lost two straight Pro Bowl games and three of the last four, now leads the series 11-8.
Members of the winning NFC team earned $10,000 each. The losing players got $5,000 apiece.
Moon had the AFC moving well in the first quarter and early in the second, with his only incompletion still a well-thrown pass.
The ball bounced off intended receiver Eddie Brown of Cincinnati and the San Francisco 49ers’ Ronnie Lott intercepted 1-yard deep in the NFC end zone and returned the ball 34 yards.
Later in the second period, Wilson marched the NFC 80 yards for its second touchdown.