Sights and sounds from ESPN's broadcast of the 2020 Pro Bowl on this afternoon at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla.:
T.J. TD: Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt was a big part of what became the splash play of the game when he recovered a fumble on fourth-and-goal from the AFC 9-yard line early in the fourth quarter and returned it 82-yards for a touchdown.
Watt picked up the ball after it had been knocked from Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins' grasp by Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell and carried it all the way into the opposite end zone. Watt even extended the ball back in the direction of Cousins, who was in pursuit the entire way back down the field, at about the 15-yard line and then executed a slide upon crossing the goal line.
Watt beat Steelers defensive tackle Cam Heyward to the recovery.
HIGHEST POSSIBLE PRAISE: Heyward had a pass defensed of a Cousins throw on first-and-10 from the NFC 46 midway through the fourth.
ESPN color analyst Booger McFarland said Heyward is worthy of eventual induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
"First-team All-Pro this season, just has been dominant, just has been consistent down in and down out, year in and year out," McFarland said. "Has improved his sack total, averages six sacks a year for his career.
"He's on his way to Canton, Ohio, in my opinion. You talk about some of the great Steeler defensive linemen, you just look at the impact that Cam Heyward has had throughout his career. One of the foundational members of what (head coach) Mike Tomlin and (defensive coordinator) Keith Butler are doing there in Pittsburgh."
ANOTHER TAKEAWAY: Steelers cornerback Joe Haden came up with an interception late in the third quarter on first-and-10 from the NFC 25. Haden made a leaping catch of a ball thrown by the Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott on a halfback pass intended for Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper at the NFC 48.
OPENING ACT: The NFC took possession of the ball first and was opposed by, among others, Watt and Heyward, who started on defense for the AFC.
The AFC defense began its afternoon by inducing a three-and-out around a false start penalty against the NFC.
Haden and free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick also represented the Steelers as members of the AFC squad. Both were on the field for the opening of the AFC's second defensive series, along with Heyward and Watt. That possession ended on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Saints quarterback Drew Brees to Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas for the game's opening touchdown.
WATT OVERLOOKED INITIALLY: McFarland didn't mention Watt while discussing candidates to be named NFL Defensive Player of the Year early in the broadcast.
The subject came up after Saints defensive end Cam Jordan batted down a pass thrown by Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson during the AFC's first possession.
"He's gonna be in the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year," McFarland said of Jordan. "I think that is probably going to go to (Cardinals defensive end) Chandler Jones or, if not, (Patriots cornerback) Stephon Gilmore. (Chiefs free safety) Tyrann Mathieu's gonna be in that conversation, along with Cam Jordan."
McFarland is not a part of the 50-voter committee tasked with determining the winner, which will be announced during "NFL Honors," the league's awards show that will air on FOX on Saturday night, the night before the Super Bowl.
FURTHER REVIEW: McFarland changed his tune following Watt's fumble return for a score.
"What an incredible year for T.J. Watt," play-by-play man Joe Tessitore observed.
Added McFarland: "We mentioned Defensive-Player-of-the-Year candidates and I didn't mention (Watt). His name deserves to be in there, along with Stephon Gilmore and Chandler Jones and (Buccaneers outside linebacker) Shaq Barrett and Tyrann Mathieu and all those guys that are vying for that award. That's going to be one of the more coveted awards at 'NFL Honors.'"
STAT CHATTER: The AFC won, 38-33. Heyward was credited with two quarterback hits and a tackle (what transpired much more resembled a game of two-hand touch) in addition to his pass defensed. Fitzpatrick also had a tackle and a pass defensed. Haden finished with two tackles and a pass defensed along with his interception. Watt's lone statistical contribution was his fumble recovery and return for a touchdown.
Take a look at photos from the 2020 Pro Bowl at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, FL