In the second year of a revised format that saw Hall of Fame receivers Michael Irvin and Chris Carter draft teams, fans were treated to a thrilling conclusion at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
Team Irvin trailed 28-25 with a little more than three minutes remaining and faced a fourth-and-one on the goal line before Ryan found Jimmy Graham for the winning touchdown at the venue hosting next week’s Super Bowl.
On Team Carter’s final possession they drove down to Irvin’s 19-yard line but Andy Dalton’s fourth down pass was incomplete.
Ryan finished with two touchdown passes and team mate Matthew Stafford also added two while throwing for 316 yards to claim Offensive MVP honors.
“I put a lot of trust in those guys and threw a couple passes in spots and they came down with it,” Stafford said. “When you have a bunch of talent you let them do their thing.”
Drew Brees and Andrew Luck each tossed a pair of touchdowns for Team Carter. Greg Olsen caught two scores in the loss.
Lineman J.J. Watt was named Defensive MVP after deflecting four passes, recording an interception and a fumble recovery for Team Carter.
Rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who made waves with the New York Giants, again flashed his one-handed catching skills and had five receptions and 89 yards for Team Irvin.
“(Those catches) came from my brother and I throwing balls at each other – practicing and practicing,” Beckham Jr. said.
“Being able to meet all these guys, it’s such an amazing experience and a blessing to be here.”
In a close game throughout Team Carter grabbed the largest lead of the night when they went up 28-19 early in the third quarter before Irvin stormed back.