“The Stadium,” ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex located just outside Disney World, typically hosts MLB spring training games. But on Thursday night, the complex played host to the NFL‘s annual Pro Bowl Skills Challenge, as 10 of the NFL’s best players competed in five different challenges. Receivers got to show off their hands, quarterbacks their accuracy, and more, before the entire competition came down to a can’t-miss dodgeball competition, as it always does.
Read on to see all the highlights and find out more about the winners.
Kirk Cousins had no issues hitting the still and moving targets, scoring 18 points after watching AFC quarterback Lamar Jackson score just two points. Browns receiver Jarvis Landry enjoyed a solid effort, scoring six points to help close the AFC’s gap on the NFC. But Packers receiver Davante Adams was just as good, scoring six points after a slow start. Russell Wilson then stole the show, scoring 19 points while helping extend the NFC’s lead to 43-8. While Deshaun Watson did his best, he was unable to lead the AFC to a come-from-behind victory, as the NFC prevailed, 48-17.
Von Miller’s stellar recovery of the loose fumbles during the “fumble scramble” helped give the AFC a big lead. Steelers defenders Cam Heyward and Minkah Fitzpatrick added to the AFC’s lead, while Nick Chubb clinched the win with his sprint to the finish line.
Wilson and Adams had to make up for a slow start by Cousins and receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. With a time of 1:51 to beat, Jackson and Ravens tight end Mark Andrews gave Watson and Landry plenty of time to finish the course while recording a winning time of 1:26.1. After losing the first event, the AFC took a 2-1 lead into the next event.
Thread the Needle
Fitzpatrick and Patriots‘ cornerback Stephon Gilmore recorded impressive interceptions off of Wilson before Wilson hit two three-pointers. Wilson then caught fire, hitting a five-pointer while finishing with 16 points. Jackson started slowly before hitting a pair of three-pointers against Lions‘ CB Darius Slay and Bears‘ CB Eddie Jackson to trim the AFC’s deficit to 18-12.
Cousins threw an early interception to Gilmore before finding his groove, scoring 10 points to add to the NFC’s lead. Watson, needing 17 points to win it for the AFC, was unable to close the gap, as the NFC prevailed, 28-21.
Two impressive catches by Heyward helped the AFC win Game 1. In game No. 2, Landry and Browns teammate Nick Chubb were alone against four NFC players before two Landry catches evened their odds. Landry then found himself alone against Adams and Cowboys‘ linebacker Jaylon Smith. After Adams was disqualified after a technicality, Landry catch of a throw by Smith won the game, and the Pro Bowl Skills Challenge, for the AFC.
While Wilson and the NFC but up a fight, it wasn’t enough to beat Landry and the AFC, who will look to repeat Thursday’s success during Sunday’s Pro Bowl.