Marshall’s 4 TD catches lift AFC in Pro Bowl

Brandon Marshall isn’t taking time in the islands to relish his

record-breaking Pro Bowl performance. He’s ready to get back to

work.

The Miami Dolphins wide receiver caught six passes for 176 yards

and a Pro Bowl-record four touchdowns, and the AFC used a

second-half surge to beat the NFC 59-41 Sunday.

Marshall, who had a game filled with highlight-reel grabs, was

selected the game’s MVP, and his name now will join the likes of

Walter Payton and Jerry Rice on the banners at Aloha Stadium.

”You know what? I wanted it,” he said. ”It’s a Pro Bowl. Some

guys are playing 100 (percent), some guys are playing 90, some guys

aren’t playing at all, but it means a lot to be up in the rafters

with some of these guys.”

Marshall hopes some of the Pro Bowl magic will carry over to

next season, where the Dolphins will be under new coach Joe

Philbin, Green Bay’s offensive coordinator for the past five

years.

”Hopefully down in Miami we can get some things turned

around,” Marshall said. ”We have some special things to do, and

we will do some special things down in South Beach.”

Marshall had changed his flight to leave Honolulu on Sunday

night, so he could meet Philbin on Monday. ”I know he’s going to

do a great job,” he said.

The 59 points by the AFC set a Pro Bowl mark, and the 100 points

scored by the teams combined was the second highest, a touchdown

shy of the 107 scored in 2004.

While everyone was playing at half-speed and ready to extend

their Hawaiian vacations, Marshall played with urgency.

”You never know when you’re going to be back,” Marshall said,

”and I wanted to go all out today because it could be my last Pro

Bowl.”

He hauled in a deflected, go-ahead 47-yard TD pass from Andy

Dalton, while on his back, to give the AFC a 38-35 lead late in the

third quarter. It was Marshall’s third TD catch of the game, tying

Jimmy Smith’s Pro Bowl record set in 2004.

”It was the most unathletic highlight I ever had,” he said.

”Andy put it up there for me to make a play. I saw the ball, got

nervous, fell, saw the ball, kicked it up and it just fell in my

hands.”

Marshall, making his third Pro Bowl appearance, then nabbed a

3-yard TD pass from Dalton that gave the AFC a 52-35 lead with 8:25

left.

Hawaii has been kind to Marshall, who also won MVP honors at

Aloha Stadium in his final game at Central Florida in the 2005

Hawaii Bowl, where he caught 11 passes for 210 yards and three

touchdowns.

Marshall noted he had six TDs this season, but four this

game.

”It says a lot when you’re playing with these type of

quarterbacks,” Marshall said. ”They just put it in the right

place and I just made the play. Hats off to those guys throwing me

the ball.”

The game featured rookie quarterbacks Cam Newton of the Carolina

Panthers and Dalton of the Cincinnati Bengals, who replaced Super

Bowl quarterbacks Eli Manning and Tom Brady and played the entire

second half. Their selection made this Pro Bowl the first to

feature two rookie signal callers.

While Dalton looked composed, Newton played horribly –

struggling to move the ball, stay in the pocket and find his

targets, which drew some boos from the sun-splashed, sellout crowd

of 48,423.

”No excuses,” Newton said. ”When you hang the ball up there,

against these kind of players, that’s what you get,” Newton said.

”It’s the good and the bad of playing in a Pro Bowl. I learned a

lot.”

Newton finished 9 of 27 for 186 yards with two touchdowns and

three interceptions. Eric Weddle picked off Newton twice. Dalton,

meanwhile, was 7 of 9 for 99 yards and two TDs.

For the NFC, Aaron Rodgers was 13 of 17 for 141 yards and two

TDs. But he was watching late in the game as Newton struggled.

”It’s tough to be the last guy in, when it’s the fourth quarter

and money becomes an issue,” he said. ”Guys are playing a little

bit harder. They come at you.”

The NFC had three players with 100-yard yard receiving: Tony

Gonzalez (seven for 114), Larry Fitzgerald (6 for 111) and Steve

Smith (5 for 118).

Rodgers and Fitzgerald connected for a pair of scores on

back-to-back plays to put the NFC up 14-0 early in the game.

After stopping the AFC on fourth down at midfield, Rodgers drove

the NFC down the field and threw a 10-yard TD toss to Fitzgerald.

Six seconds later, Rodgers aired a 44-yard rainbow in the end zone

to Fitzgerald for another score after the NFC got the ball back

with a surprise onside kick.

The reception was Fitzgerald’s sixth career TD catch in the Pro

Bowl, tying Gonzalez’s record. He would break the record with the

game’s last touchdown, on a 36-yard pass from Newton.

The AFC came right back and tied it up on two deep TD passes on

the right side by Ben Roethlisberger. He threw a 34-yarder to

rookie A.J. Green, and then connected with Marshall on a

74-yarder.

Each AFC player earned a record $50,000 for the win, while the

NFC players received $25,000.

While the players hope to return to Hawaii next year, it’s still

unknown where the 2013 Pro Bowl will be played. Sunday’s game

marked the final one under contract between the NFL and Hawaii.

”As someone who played in the Pro Bowl when it was in a

different city, I can tell you that it’s not a real comparison,”

Rodgers said.