HONOLULU, FEB. 3 -- A season of instant-replay controversy in the NFL ended perhaps fittingly today as the AFC defeated the NFC, 23-21, in the Pro Bowl.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly threw two touchdown passes, the second a 13-yarder to Ernest Givins of the Houston Oilers with 1:49 remaining, for the winning margin.
The play was not reviewed by officials, but replays showed Givins did not control the ball on his sliding catch in the end zone in front of Redskins cornerback Darrell Green. The angle showing the ball hitting the ground before going into Givins's hands was not shown by ESPN until after the AFC kicked the extra point. A play can not be reversed after another play has been run.
On the drive, an apparent AFC fumble was ruled no fumble, despite replay evidence to the contrary.
However, the NFC still had a chance to win. Morten Andersen of New Orleans, one of the league's all-time leading kickers, had a 46-yard field goal attempt blocked by Miami's Jeff Cross with seven seconds to play. Andersen missed three field goals, two of which were blocked.
Cross said the ball went off his thumb on the game-saving block.
"I was close all day and I felt I had a really good chance of blocking it, because it was a long kick and I knew it was going to be low," he said.
Kelly completed 13 of 19 passes for 210 yards and was named the game's most valuable player. His other touchdown pass was a 20-yarder to Buffalo teammate Andre Reed early in the final quarter.
Washington wide receiver Gary Clark, playing in his third Pro Bowl, said his NFC teammates were disappointed by the outcome, and not just because they received losers' shares.
"We made it an exciting game," said Clark, who caught a game-high six passes for 65 yards. "Of course we wanted to win; money's got nothing to do with it."
Detroit's Barry Sanders, the NFL's leading rusher this season, ran 22 yards for a touchdown with 5:11 remaining to give the NFC a 21-13 lead.
Nick Lowery of Kansas City pulled the AFC within 21-16 with his third field goal, a 34-yarder with 2:58 remaining.
Kelly and Reed hooked up on their scoring pass to pull the AFC within 14-13 early in the final quarter. Kelly threaded the ball perfectly between two defenders.
A 33-yard pass from Kelly to Anthony Miller of the San Diego Chargers was a key play in the drive, moving the ball to the NFC 42.
Phoenix rookie Johnny Johnson scored two touchdowns for the NFC on runs of one and 9 yards.
Johnson gave the NFC a 14-6 lead with his second touchdown, with 1:04 remaining in the third quarter.
Jerry Rice of the San Francisco 49ers caught a 49-yard pass to set up Johnson's second touchdown. Rice grabbed the ball after Rod Woodson of the Pittsburgh Steelers bobbled it trying for an interception.
Johnson, who rushed for 926 yards this season despite missing most of three games with an ankle injury, gave the NFC a 7-3 lead when he dove over from the 1-yard line 43 seconds before halftime.
The NFC, which had won the two previous Pro Bowls, had its lead in the series trimmed to 12-9.