HONOLULU – With no Super Bowl trip this season for the Seattle Seahawks, their stars came to play — and dominate — at the Pro Bowl.
Russell Wilson threw three first-half touchdown passes to lead Team Irvin to a 49-27 victory over Team Rice on Sunday and earn offensive MVP honors at Aloha Stadium. Seattle teammate Michael Bennett was the defensive MVP after having the game’s only sack and deflecting a pass.
“To see us Seahawks out there is a real special thing,” Wilson said. “It’s a testament to our hard work and to see two Seahawks out there as MVPs is really cool.”
The Seahawks quarterback, who was the first player picked in the all-star game’s draft, went 8 of 12 for 164 yards. He led scoring drives on three of Team Irvin’s first four possessions.
Wilson threw touchdown passes of 14 and 2 yards to Atlanta Falcons teammates Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman, respectively, in the opening quarter. Early in the second quarter, Wilson connected with Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley for a 10-yard score.
The teams were drafted and captained by Hall of Fame wide receivers Michael Irvin and Jerry Rice. Winston Moss, Green Bay’s assistant head coach and linebackers coach, filled in for the ill Mike McCarthy and coached Team Irvin. Kansas City’s Andy Reid led Team Rice.
A record 47 players declined to participate in this year’s Pro Bowl, either due to injury or for personal reasons, or couldn’t play because their teams are in the Super Bowl. Carolina had 10 players selected, including quarterback Cam Newton, while Denver had four, including defensive stars Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware.
Wilson was the lone quarterback originally selected to participate in the game.
“Any time you have the opportunity to play the great game of football, you take advantage of the opportunity,” Wilson said. “Playing in the Pro Bowl is a special thing because to be able to see all the amazing players across the league, who are the best players in the world and to be able to play on one field together is a really, really cool thing.”
Bennett was busy on defense, but played one snap at quarterback late in the game and picked up 7 yards on a rush. The 193-cm, 124-kg defensive said it was his first experience under center in his career.
“Only in my dreams,” Bennett said with a laugh.
Two other Seahawks players mixed it up midway through the third quarter when Team Irvin’s Richard Sherman — a cornerback — was dropped for a 22-yard loss on a reverse by Team Rice linebacker Bobby Wagner.
“He said that he knew what he was going to do,” Sherman said. “He knew I was getting the ball and he knew he was making the tackle.”
Minnesota’s Teddy Bridgewater and Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston each added two TD passes for Team Irvin. Jacksonville’s Allen Robinson, Tennessee’s Delanie Walker, Philadelphia’s Darren Sproles and Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins had scoring receptions.