Further Review | Sports Please don’t take offense: sacks, turnovers rule day By Dave Reardon Jan. 27, 2014 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! Carolina Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert of Team Rice and some of his teammates mugged for the camera after Tolbert converted a 2-point conversion to win it. Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. Yeah, we got jokes. Plenty. Like how the biggest hit was dished out by the Texans cheerleader on her own team’s mascot, or that Team Not Here could beat Team Rice or Team Sanders. But once again, as often happens at the Pro Bowl, things got competitive late in the day. The team captained by Jerry Rice and coached by the Panthers’ Ron Rivera and his staff won 22-21 because it made the big plays as the Aloha Stadium clock ticked down — perhaps the last time on the Pro Bowl here for a while. If you have unrealistic expectations for this as a game the NFL reached an all-time low for gimmicks. If you’re reasonable and understand this isn’t SUPPOSED to be a real football game it was an all-time high for fun sideshow stuff. Perhaps the league overplayed the new unconferenced, draft angle, maybe not realizing that it would lead to some other "uns" like unfamiliarity with teammates, producing even more turnovers than usual. The unfortunate weather was uncontrollable but that didn’t help either, contributing to the final count of eight interceptions and fumbles. Nine sacks made it pretty ugly, too (although J.J. Watt’s "swim move" after one was sweet, and appropriate given the sogginess of the turf). With all that, there was an "un" word for the finish: Unreal. Football purists had reason to hate a lot of the "game" but must grudgingly admit the end was pretty good. It came down to clutch plays and blocking and tackling and running the ball, fullback Mike Tolbert scoring on a 2-point conversion — a play that not that long ago was considered gimmicky by the NFL but actually is about the essence of the game. And it had to make commissioner Roger Goodell feel good about his idea to delete point-after kicks. Maybe there just wasn’t enough "real" football for you. If your thing is left tackles protecting passers or smooth quarterback-running back exchanges you will be disappointed. But as always the Pro Bowl gave us several individual wow plays among the sloppy attempts at teamwork by a lot of guys who just met the other day. Josh Gordon’s somersault while being tackled and Vontaze Burfict’s perfectly timed dive for an interception come to mind. The man-to-man coverage rules were changed to help the defenders, interesting considering this is one game where the secondary already has the edge — at least in the early going. "When you got great receivers and great quarterbacks playing with each other, they have rapport," Tolbert said. "These guys don’t really know each other that well. To be able to adjust and then make plays (late in the game) it says a lot about their talent." And after everything, it came down to who would be more physical for 2 yards. "Absolutely," Tolbert said. "That’s what football is all about." Maybe it’s not what the Pro Bowl is always about, but it was for a few minutes this time. ——— @Tag1:Reach Dave Reardon at <@Tagline -- email1>firstname.lastname@example.org<@$p> or 529-4783. Read his blog at staradvertiser.com/quickreads. Previous Story Team Rice edges Team Sanders in Pro Bowl Next Story Goodell: Pro Bowl 'exciting fun'