HONOLULU -- The NFL wanted to manufacture excitement with the new Pro Bowl Draft format and changes to the rules. They got it.
"Philip (Rivers) told them to give it to me. My old teammate, he made them give it to me," Tolbert said.
"I told Cam I was going to mess with him if I got in the end zone, so I had to," Tolbert said laughing.
Defense ruled the day, which is not something we've seen out of recent Pro Bowls. But while the scoring stayed low, the sloppy conditions actually added to the early excitement.
Turnovers were key as Team Sanders coughed it up for three fumbles (losing one), while Team Rice fumbled twice (also losing one). The teams combined for six interceptions and nine sacks.
Team Sanders defensive tackle Dontari Poe returned the favor, grabbing a batted ball and returning it to the 7-yard line to set up a Newton touchdown run.
The defensive lines dominated from the start. Drew Brees was hit twice on the first drive, including a blindside sack from Gerald McCoy. On the other side, Newton was sacked four times in the second quarter alone; obviously Ron Rivera didn't ask his D-linemen to go easy on his franchise quarterback.
The teams combined for nine sacks.
"Early there was a lot of turnovers because of the weather. There was a lot of rain. and obviously that is part of the things that factor into it," Team Sanders' captain J.J. Watt said after the contest.
A bevy of exhilarating plays ensued from the outset.
Team Sanders ended the first quarter with an Eric Berry interception of Brees. Given the new rules (in which possession changes at the end of each quarter), a pitch drill ensued and Darrelle Revis almost broke loose. It's the type of exciting play the NFL was hoping to manufacture with the new format.
Injury Notes: Buffalo Bills safety Jairus Byrd suffered an undisclosed injury early in the first quarter. He did not return. Byrd tweeted during the contest that he felt fine. Byrd is a 2014 free agent. Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy suffered an ankle injury.