Panthers leave mark on Pro Bowl

A pair of Panthers players were responsible for two of the most notable defensive plays in Sunday's Pro Bowl.

That's especially notable given that the Panthers only had one defensive player on the Pro Bowl roster.

Carolina linebacker Jon Beason picked off a pass and returned it for a touchdown, and left tackle Jordan Gross laid out an AFC player returning a fumble to help the NFC roll to a 55-41 victory at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The Panthers, who also were represented by center Ryan Kalil, helped the NFC win the game for the third time in the last four years.

In the closing minutes of the game, Beason broke on a pass from Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel to Oakland Raiders tight end Zach Miller and stepped in front of it, catching it in stride and then steaming down the sideline 49 yards for a touchdown.

Beason's score accounted for the NFC's final points and allowed the squad to tie the record for most points in the Pro Bowl by one team, matching the 55 by the NFC in 2004.

Earlier in the fourth quarter, Gross made what the FOX broadcast crew labeled as the best hit of the game. After New England Patriots linebacker Brandon Meriweather picked up what he believed to be a fumble by Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten and returned it past midfield, Gross tracked him down near the sideline and delivered a big blow to stop his progress.

The play officially was wiped out when officials ruled that Witten was down by contact, but Gross still made the highlight reel.

Beason was playing in his third consecutive Pro Bowl, Kalil in his second consecutive and Gross in his second in three years.

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