Longhorns shine in Pro Bowl


by Matt Mitchell

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Posted on January 27, 2013 at 11:40 PM

 For the secondstraight year, former Texas Longhorns linebacker Derrick Johnson scored a touchdown on an interception return in the Pro Bowl. Former Longhorns safety Earl Thomas also had an interception in the game as his NFC team defeated Johnson's AFC team, 62-35. Johnson and Thomas werejoined Sunday night in Honolulu for the annual NFL all-star game by fellow former Longhorns running back Jamaal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs, Chicago Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton and Cleveland Browns kicker Phil Dawson.

It was the second consecutive Pro Bowl for Johnson and Thomas and the second overall for Charles after his first appearance in the 2011 game. Melton and Dawson were both making their first Pro Bowl appearances.
Johnson, a Kansas City Chiefs linebacker, intercepted New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning and took the ball 42 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. Johnson read Manning'seyes, jumped up to snag the ball intended for the tight end, spun around and then went in untouched for the score. The play helped put the AFC up 14-10 with 11:14 left to play in the half. In last year's game, Johnson took a lateralfrom San Diego Chargers safety Eric Weddle and rumbled 58 yards to complete an 87-yard interception return for a touchdown in the AFC's 59-41 victory.
In this year's game, Johnson recorded six solo tackles, one interception for a touchdown and one pass defensed.
Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas started for the NFC squad and intercepted the Houston Texans' Matt Schaub to thwart the AFC's first drive of the second half. The NFC scored three plays later to take a 38-17 lead at 12:56 of thethird quarter.
Thomas tallied two tackles (onesolo), one interception and one pass defensed. He also was part of a punt return when Seahawks teammate Leon Washington fielded a punt in the second quarter and lateraled to Thomas, but Thomas was not able to gain any yards.
Charles carried the ball only three times as the AFC elected the throw the ball extensively as they were behindmost of the game. It was Charles' second Pro Bowl in three years. In the 2011 game Charles scored one touchdown and carried the ball 10 times for 72 yards, including a game-high run of 32 yards to lead all AFC running backs.
Dawson, a 14-year NFL veteran playing in his first Pro Bowl, went five-for-five on PATs for the AFC. Dawson also attempted an onside kick in the fourth quarter as the AFC attempted tofind a way to cut the NFC's large lead.
Melton also victimized Schaub with a pass deflection in the third quarter and was part of an NFC defense that held the AFC to only 15 yards rushing in the game.