Larry Fitzgerald had two touchdowns in the first six minutes of the game and Patrick Peterson had an interception and a nice one-handed catch on a fake punt, but after that the NFC's day at Sunday's Pro Bowl got ugly.
The AFC ended up with a 59-41 victory as Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton struggled in throwing three interceptions in the second half while the AFC pulled away.
Fitzgerald did end up catching a third touchdown pass late in the game – he finished with six catches for 111 yards and the three scores – but was outshined by Miami Dolphins receiver Brandon Marshall. Marshall was named the game's MVP after scoring a Pro Bowl-record four touchdowns on his six catches for 177 yards.
Fitzgerald now has seven career Pro Bowl touchdowns, most in the game's history.
In a game where defense is just a suggestion, the Cards weren't going to get many highlights from safety Adrian Wilson (one pass defensed), although Peterson did come up with his pick of Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers in the end zone to briefly slow the AFC. But just briefly.
Peterson did end up with four tackles and a pass defensed, but he was also on the wrong side of a couple of touchdown passes, including Marshall's record-breaking TD.
Peterson did not get a chance to return a punt – the AFC did not punt the whole game – but averaged 30.8 yards on four kickoff returns. He also made an eight-yard reception on a fake punt, with a pass from 49ers punter Andy Lee. Peterson snagged the pass with just his right hand and picked up a first down on fourth-and-3.
The track meet of a game went back and forth when the NFC had Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers and New Orleans' Drew Brees on the field, but Newton had a tough Pro Bowl debut as a rookie. He completed only 9-of-27 passes (the other five quarterbacks in the game were 47-for-70) and threw the three picks that changed the complexion of the game.