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Pro Bowl: Travis Kelce Wins Offensive MVP; AFC Defeats NFC, 20-13

Posted Jan 29, 2017

Kelce had 36 yards and a touchdown

Always the showman, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce made sure he arrived to Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida, with something up his sleeve.

That something wound up being a “saltbae” touchdown celebration, which Kelce debuted after his game-winning touchdown Sunday night at the Pro Bowl. Kelce was awarded the offensive MVP award for his three-catch, 36-yard “saltebae” touchdown performance in which the AFC defeated the NFC, 20-13.

"The 'saltbae' was planned,” Kelce said after the game. “It was literally pregame, sitting around in the hotel, and I came up with it. It was perfect timing and everything. It was hilarious."

With the AFC and NFC tied at 7 late in the second quarter, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton found Kelce on a crossing pattern, and with room in front of him, Kelce leapt into the end zone in a Heisman pose for the 23-yard touchdown.

"I saw that they were in man and tried to sneak out the back side,” Kelce said. “Sure enough, Andy put it right on cue."

After a scoreless first quarter, the AFC struck first in the second thanks to a 26-yard touchdown pass from Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith to Titans tight end Delanie Walker, who Smith played with for a number of years when they were both members of the San Francisco 49ers.

On second-and-6 at the NFC 46-yard line, Walker and Kelce lined up to Smith’s left.

“Those two both can run so well,” Smith said of the tight end duo. “Kelce ate up the safety. Delanie did a great job keeping with. Pretty easy. It's cool to have those two. Obviously, I've spent a big chunk of time with both those guys. I know them well. They're both so smart. To be able to talk to them here and there, it's pretty fun."

At the time of Smith's touchdown play, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, who was coaching the AFC, was doing an in-game interview with ESPN’s Sean McDonough and Jon Gruden.

Right before the play, Reid told McDonough and Gruden that the AFC “would get one right here.”

"He called his shot,” Smith said after the game. “I like it. I like it. It's good. I felt good about it. Like I said, we kind of set it up well."

Smith, who finished the game 6 of 8 for 74 yards, was replaced by Dalton after his touchdown pass.

Later in the game, during the third quarter with the NFC up 17-7, the NFC stopped the AFC on third down at the NFC 23-yard line. 

Reid sent the field goal unit out on fourth down, but he called a fake, the same play he used during the Chiefs’ Week 16 matchup against the Steelers in 2014.

The ball was snapped to Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt, and Colquitt flipped the ball to Kelce, who picked up blocking on the left end. After nearly getting tackled, Kelce got the first down.

“(Special teams coordinator) Dave Toub knew I was going to be on field goal, why not do something that we had already practiced a million times?” Kelce said.

The drive resulted in a field goal, which extended the AFC’s lead to 20-7.

The NFC would rally back in the fourth to get within a touchdown at 20-13, but a late interception by the Bills’ Lorenzo Alexander would seal it for the AFC. Lorenzo Alexander was named the game's defensive MVP.

First-time Pro Bowler D.J. Alexander had six tackles (5 solo) in the game. Punt returner Tyreek Hill had three returns for 49 yards (16.3 yards per return). Hill also had a catch for 9 yards.

During a Pro Bowl in which the AFC put up 20 points, with Colquitt serving as the field goal unit’s holder, a Chiefs player had a hand in every single scoring play.

Still, the night belonged to Kelce, who chose to reflect on his week as a whole during the team’s Pro Bowl award ceremony. 

"Ray (Lewis) said it at the beginning of the week—he challenged us to make an influence,” Kelce said. “Come out here and put smiles on people's faces out here. That's what I'm taking away from this. I challenge you guys to make an influence. Get out here and be able to make a person smile tonight and be able to make a person at work smile tomorrow."

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