Mahomes and Rodgers headline 2021 Pro Bowl rosters

Cincinnati Bengals pulled off a 27-17 upset over the reeling Pittsburgh Steelers

The Cincinnati Bengals celebrate their win over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium. Photograph: Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals celebrate their win over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Reigning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes and league veteran Aaron Rodgers headline the National Football League’s (NFL) 2021 Pro Bowl rosters for the AFC and NFC, respectively, the league announced.

The annual exhibition game will not take place in its standard format this year due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and will instead play out in a “virtual Pro Bowl experience within Madden NFL 21,” the EA Sports video game, the league said.

The Baltimore Ravens, Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs led the league with seven players from each team named among the 88 All-Stars.

Inclusion in the roster is considered among the highest honours a player can receive for on-field performance, and selections are made based on input from coaches, fans and players.

Mahomes received a league-high 342,353 total fan votes, followed by Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry and Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.

The Pro Bowl celebration is scheduled to take place January 31st.

Meanwhile Giovani Bernard hauled in a touchdown catch and ran for another score as the host Cincinnati Bengals pulled off a 27-17 upset over the reeling Pittsburgh Steelers.

Cincinnati (3-10-1) snapped a five-game losing streak. Pittsburgh (11-3) lost its third in a row and missed a chance to clinch the AFC North title.

Bengals quarterback Ryan Finley, starting with Brandon Allen hurt, completed seven of 13 passes for 89 yards while throwing for a touchdown and running for one. Bernard gained 83 yards on 25 carries.

Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger connected on 20 of 38 passes for 170 yards, becoming the seventh player to surpass 60,000 career passing yards. He threw for one touchdown and was intercepted once. Diontae Johnson had a TD catch while Benny Snell had a rushing touchdown among his 84 yards on 18 carries.

Pittsburgh endured a disastrous first half while Cincinnati was opportunistic. The Steelers had two yards of offense and Roethlisberger was four of 10 for minus-five yards in the first quarter. The two Pittsburgh possessions that didn’t end in punts instead ended in turnovers, and the Bengals capitalised.

A botched centre-quarterback exchange was recovered by Josh Bynes and led to a 34-yard field goal by Austin Seibert for a 3-0 Bengals lead. It was Seibert’s first field goal after taking over for Randy Bullock.

Seibert was wide right on a 55-yard attempt late in the first quarter, but Cincinnati got the ball back when receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster fumbled it over to Vonn Bell at the Pittsburgh 38. Seven plays later, Bernard drifted right, then cut to the end zone for a four-yard scoring run to make it 10-0 in the second quarter.

Another Steelers turnover, an interception by Mackensie Alexander, helped set up Finley’s blitz-beating, 14-yard touchdown pass to Bernard to make it 17-0.

Pittsburgh finally got on the board on Roethlisberger’s 23-yard scoring pass to Johnson with 12:07 remaining in the third quarter, making it 17-7.

Chris Boswell’s 25-yard field goal closed the deficit to 17-10 late in the third quarter. On a nine-play, 80-yard drive that bled into the fourth quarter, the Bengals pushed it to 24-10 on Finley’s 23-yard keeper.

Snell’s one-yard dive into the end zone pulled Pittsburgh to within 24-17 with 5:32 left. Seibert added a 33-yard field goal with 12 seconds remaining.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.