San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle, fullback Kyle Juszczyk, running back Christian McCaffrey, linebacker Fred Warner and safety Talanoa Hufanga showed off their skills during the opening day of the 2023 Pro Bowl Games.
On Thursday, the NFL star-studded event kicked off with the Lightning Round. San Francisco's defensive players Warner and Hufanga put their teammate chemistry on display in the Splash Catch competition, a water balloon toss that increased in distance as the game went on.
The linebacker and safety connected on each water balloon catch, with the longest toss being 15 yards out. Their perfect record allowed them to advance to the next Lightning Round, a challenge called High Stakes.
In the next round, players attempted to field punts from a JUGS machine. The twist in the High Stakes contest was that players have to hold on to each of the footballs they caught in subsequent rounds. The final player standing would end up holding a total of five footballs in their hands.
Warner was successful in his first catch and Hufanga tallied two, but Dallas Cowboys center Tyler Biadasz and New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan were the final two players who moved on for the NFC Team.
The first day of the Pro Bowl Games concluded with an epic dodgeball tournament. The three-round event started off with the AFC Offense Team vs. AFC Defense Team. Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey sealed the win for the AFC Defense Team by catching Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs' throw.
Up next was the NFC showdown where Kittle, Juszczyk and McCaffrey competed on the NFC Offense Team against the NFC Defense Team. McCaffrey flexed his dodgeball IQ ahead of the contest, reciting the "five D's of dodgeball" from the movie featuring Vince Vaughn, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.
"Dodgeball is dodgeball," McCaffrey said. "Dive, duck, dip, dive and dodge... I'm excited, it's going to be a blast."
The NFC offense came out on top in Round 2, so the final round of the tournament came down to the AFC Defense against the NFC Offense.
"The People's Tight End" put on a show in Las Vegas, drawing the closer for the dodgeball tournament win. Alongside Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook and New York Giants back Saquon Barkley, the NFC trio survived the contest and Kittle struck Pittsburgh Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, earning three points for the NFC Team.
At the close of Day 1, the AFC Team leads the 2023 Pro Bowl Games 9-3 with the challenges resuming on Sunday, February 5th at 12:00 p.m. PT. The event will conclude with 7-on-7 flag football games, and at the end, the winning conference will be determined.
To find out which 49ers players are competing in the Pro Bowl skills challenges, click here. For ways to watch the 2023 Pro Bowl Games, click here.
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