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Palmer leads AFC to win; Brees injured

February 11, 2007|From the Associated Press

HONOLULU — Even while the star-studded AFC cruised to a comfortable lead in the Pro Bowl, Carson Palmer could sense a wacky finish lurking beyond everybody's control.

"With this much talent, anybody could change the game at any time," the Cincinnati quarterback said. "You've got to expect something crazy to happen, because it will."

Palmer's hunch proved correct in the improbable final minutes -- but thanks to his poise and a costly NFC penalty, the AFC's Hawaiian vacation ended with another victory.

Nate Kaeding kicked a 21-yard field goal as time expired to cap another strong drive led by Palmer, the MVP of the AFC's 31-28 victory Saturday in the 57th edition of the NFL's all-star game.

The NFC had trailed, 28-14, with three minutes to play. Steven Jackson scored on a fourth-down touchdown run, and Ronde Barber recovered an onside kick to set up Anquan Boldin's 47-yard touchdown reception from Tony Romo with 1:48 left -- followed by a tying two-point conversion catch by Carolina's Steve Smith.

Palmer, who passed for 190 yards and two touchdowns, calmly got the AFC across midfield -- and then Arizona's Adrian Wilson, mistakenly believing Palmer's long pass had been tipped, leveled Chad Johnson at the goal line before the throw reached them.

The 39-yard pass-interference penalty put the ball near the goal line, setting up Kaeding's kick.

Drew Brees, the NFC's starting quarterback, dislocated his left elbow in his second series. Brees, who throws right-handed, didn't appear to get hit particularly hard while throwing a fourth-down incompletion.

The New Orleans quarterback's injury seems unlikely to affect next season. "Hopefully it's not something big," Kansas City tight end Tony Gonzalez said.

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