KAPOLEI, Hawaii – Texans head coach Gary Kubiak led the AFC to a 59-41 victory in the 2012 Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium on Sunday.
The game featured 1,140 yards of offense, including a Pro Bowl-record 596 for the AFC. Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall won game MVP honors after 176 setting a Pro Bowl record with four touchdowns to go along with 176 receiving yards.
“I appreciate the guys’ effort,” Kubiak said. “I understand the drill. I understand we’re out here to make sure everybody’s healthy, but I tell you what, our guys were great all week – not only great players, but great people.
“It’s kind of hard to call plays; you’ve got so many guys that want the ball. But they’re good guys. It’s great for the NFL. It’s my first taste of this, but I really enjoyed it.”
Cornerback , center and defensive end represented the Texans in what was the first-career Pro Bowl for each player.
The Texans’ highlight of the day was an interception by Joseph of Panthers quarterback Cam Newton in the third quarter. It came on a pass intended for the Falcons’ Roddy White inside the red zone. Joseph returned the ball 26 yards to the AFC 36-yard line.
“It was a slant route, and I kind of had a beat on it,” Joseph said. “I kind of figured it was going to be a slant. I was just worried about making the catch and securing it. I wish I would’ve scored, but I didn’t. Got the ball back for the offense, though.”
Baltimore Ravens fullback Vonta Leach ran for a one-yard touchdown to put the AFC up 45-35 with 11:40 remaining. Kubiak called two consecutive runs for Leach, who played for the Texans from 2006-10, from the six-yard line, and he smiled broadly on the sideline after the score.
“Y’all know he means a lot to me,” Kubiak said. “He kind of was raised in our system and he’s become very successful. Even though we lost him (in free agency), which was tough, we’re happy for him.”
In typical Pro Bowl fashion, the game was tied 28-28 at halftime. Pro Bowl rules generally prohibit defenses from putting pressure on the quarterback, and teams are required to run a 4-3.
Even though Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips was unable to run his 3-4 scheme, the AFC managed to limit the NFC to 13 points in the second half. They forced five turnovers, which included a 60-yard interception return for a touchdown by Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson with 5:16 left to play.
“We held ‘em to 41 (points), and it wasn’t easy,” Phillips said. “We don’t have many of those. It’s a passing game, and it’s offensive oriented. But we got a lot of interceptions and we got turnovers for touchdowns, so that was kind of fun.”
Joseph finished with three tackles, two passes defensed and one interception.
‘It’s an honor to be here,” Joseph said. “I was an alternate before, and to finally make it, it just kind of says hard work pays off.”
Smith had one tackle. He also had one quarterback hit, knocking Newton out of bounds on an incomplete pass late in the third quarter.
“Sometimes my ninjitsu styles come out when I don’t even want ‘em to,” Smith said. “My fellow Pro Bowl brothers, don’t be mad at me. It’s my alter ego.”
Myers entered the game on offense in the second quarter, replacing starting center Nick Mangold of the New York Jets.
“It’s overwhelming, man,” Myers said. “To be able to come out here and be here and just be here all week and then to culminate in playing in the stadium, seeing all the MVP names and seeing just the history that’s been here, it’s pretty cool. They’re always a high-scoring affair, you always expect that, but it’s pretty nice to get a win on top of that.”