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For over 25 years, Bob Matthews has held the title of Rochester's most popular sports writer/commentator. For over 20 years, Bob has hosted WHAM's nightly sports talk program...consistently ranked at the top of his time slot!
From 1978 to 2012, Bob Matthews was a sports columnist for the Times-Union and Democrat and Chronicle and a regular "As the Sports World Turns" contributor to the Gannett News Service. He is the only person to be selected Press-Radio Club Sportswriter of the Year (five times) and Sportscaster of the Year, and was a pioneer inductee into the Frontier Field Walk of Fame.
A Rochester native, Bob graduated from Brighton High School where he played varsity baseball, basketball and served as student council V-P. Bob is also a veteran, serving his country in Vietnam.
Always opinionated and outspoken, Bob's proudest accomplishment is advocating for Frontier Field. His all-time favorite athlete...former Red Wing Luke Easter. One of his sports regrets……not being around for the glory year of the Rochester Royals.
MANUEL’S ENCOURAGING PERFORMANCE THE HIGHLIGHT FOR BILLS
BRONCOS NO. 1 IN BOB’S WEEK ONE POWER RATINGS
KAEPERNICK, BOLDIN TOP HEROES LIST
STEELERS’ CENTER POUNCEY MOST COSTLY INJURY
REJECT GURLEY HAPPIEST PLAYER
NEW COACHES 2-4 ON SUNDAY
New England quarterback Tom Brady wasn’t great Sunday at The Ralph but he found a way to beat the Buffalo Bills – he almost always does.
Despite the disappointing 23-21 defeat, Buffalo fans had to be impressed by the home team’s overall performance. The Bills weren’t particularly sharp, but they hit hard and capitalized on enough mistakes by the Patriots to make a game of it.
Some things to like about the Bills on Sunday:
Rookie EJ Manuel showed the poise, leadership, arm and mobility to suggest that he might be the long-awaited “franchise quarterback.” He didn’t do enough to win the game but he did enough to make it interesting.
The defense hit hard and the undermanned secondary held up pretty well.
They were competitive without a significant contribution from main offensive weapon C.J. Spiller (17x41 rushing + 5 x14 receiving; 55 total yards on 22 touches; 2.8 yards per touch). The Patriots were focusing on stopping him and they did a good job.
It had to be a confidence boost.
Some things not to like about the Bills on Sunday:
Young wide receivers Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin and T.J. Graham combined for 2 catches for 18 yards.
New England was ripe to be beaten, but Brady came through again while the Bills fell short. They missed another opportunity to close out a big game.
Penalties. The Bills were undisciplined in this department in the preseason and it continued against New England. Buffalo isn’t good enough to beat a good team with such a huge disparity in penalties (10x75; Pats were 4x36).
Suspect play calling late in the fourth quarter – Up by one point with 5:51 to play, coach Doug Marrone and offensive coordinator Nate Hackett decided to stick with the no-huddle offense rather than burn clock. The three-and-out series took only 43 seconds off the clock. Brady had plenty of time to complete his 27th career fourth-quarter comeback victory. But give Marrone some credit for being aggressive.
They’re all alone in last place in the AFC East – already.
BOB’S WEEK 1 NFL RANKINGS
1—Denver...Passing game awesome...schedule looks soft
2—San Francisco...Impressive home win over Green Bay
3—Seattle...Not sharp in victory at Carolina
4—New Orleans...Emotional win with return of Sean Payton
5—Dallas...Finally beat Giants at home
6—Chicago...Could Bears be underrated?
7—New England...Undermanned but knows how to win
8—Miami...Good start with road win over Browns
9—Green Bay...Solid effort in road loss to 49ers
10—Kansas City...On the upgrade for sure
11—Indianapolis...Ignore stats, Luck is a winner
12—Detroit...Tough team to gauge
13—St. Louis...Some promising signs
14—Tennessee...Upset road win over Steelers
15—Washington...Host Eagles Monday night
16—Philadelphia...Chip Kelly offense unveiled Monday night
17—Atlanta...No shame in loss at New Orleans
18—Houston...At Chargers Monday night
19—Cincinnati...Disappointing loss at Chicago
20—Buffalo...Gave Pats all they could handle
21—Baltimore...Ran out of gas in Denver
22—New York Jets...It wasn’t pretty but they won
23—San Diego...Host Texans Monday night
24—Pittsburgh...A rare losing home opener
25—Carolina...Panthers will win their share
26—Minnesota...Need more from Peterson
27—Arizona...Carson Palmer will roll up passing yards
28—New York Giants...Six turnovers won’t cut it
29—Cleveland...Season-opening home jinx continues
30—Oakland...Pryor looked OK in loss
31—Tampa Bay...Brutal loss to Jets
32—Jacksonville...2 whole points in home opener
San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick and WR Anquan Boldin – In a thoroughly entertaining 34-28 49ers home win over Green Bay, Kaepernick was 27x39 for 412 yards passing, with 3 TD passes, 0 INTS and a 129.4 passer rating. He refused to be intimidated by Packers linebacker Clay Matthews...Boldin had 13 catches for 208 yards and 1 TD for his new team.
Detroit RB Reggie Bush – He showed his versatility in his Lions debut Sunday. He had 21 carries for 90 yards and 4 catches for 101 yards and 1 TD in a 34-24 home victory over Minnesota. He finished the game with a dislocated thumb and a groin injury.
New York Jets QB Geno Smith – After a miserable preseason and under intense pressure from coach Rex Ryan, fans and the media, the rookie did OK in an 18-17 home win over Tampa Bay: 24x38 for 256 yards; 1 TD pass; 1 INT; sacked 5 times; 80.6 passer rating; 6x47 rushing.
St. Louis DE Robert Quinn – He had 3 sacks and forced 2 fumbles in a 27-24 victory over Arizona.
Chicago CB Charles Tillman – He had two interceptions (35 for his career) in a 24-21 home win over Cincinnati.
Denver QB Peyton Manning – Entering Thursday night’s kickoff game, Broncos observers noted that Manning was throwing with more velocity than last season, when he was league MVP runner-up to Adrian Peterson. Manning made them look with 7 TD passes and 462 yards passing in a 49-27 home romp over Baltimore.
(Picture Courtesy: sportsillustrated.cnn.com)
Tampa Bay LB Lavonte David – His 15-yard penalty for hitting Jets QB Geno Smith out of bounds with 34 seconds to play set up Nick Folk’s 48-yard field goal with 0:02 remaining for an 18-17 Jets victory.
Minnesota QB Christian Ponder – He had 3 INTS, 3 sacks, 1 lost fumble and a 63.1 passer rating in a 34-24 road loss to Detroit.
Cleveland QB Brandon Weeden – He threw 3 interceptions in a 23-10 home loss to Miami.
Tampa Bay QB Josh Freeman – Days after being voted out by teammates as a team captain, he was outplayed by Jets rookie Geno Smith in an 18-17 road loss. His job is on the line this season and he’s off to a poor start (15x31 for 201 yards; 1 TD; 1 INT; sacked 3 times; 67.9 passer rating.
Referee Bill Leavy’s zebra crew – They botched a call in the first half, giving San Francisco an extra third down. The 49ers scored a TD instead of settling for a field goal in a 34-28 victory.
Jacksonville QB Blaine Gabbert and RB Maurice Jones-Drew – Gabbert is on thin ice. He was 16x35 for 121 yards, with 0 TD passes, 2 INTs. 6 times sacked and a 30.8 passer rating. Jones-Drew had 15 carries for 45 yards (3.0-yard average) and 0 catches.
(Photo Courtesy: bleacherreport.com)
Home teams were 9-5 outright and 7-6-1 against the Las Vegas point spread Thursday and Sunday.
Las Vegas favorites were 12-2 outright and 8-5-1 against the spread.
Teams with the most yards rushing were 9-5.
Teams with the most yards passing were 10-4.
Teams with the fewest penalties were 6-8 and teams with the fewest yards penalized were 7-7.
Teams scoring first were 7-7.
Teams leading after the first quarter were 4-5.
Teams leading at halftime were 6-6-2.
Teams leading after three quarters were 8-5-1.
Teams winning the turnover battle were 10-1-3.
Teams leading in time of possession were 11-3.
Four of 14 games were decided by 3 points or fewer and 10 games were decided by 7 points or fewer.
The interleague series is tied 1-1 (Chicago NFC beat Cincinnati AFC; Jets AFC beat Tampa Bay).
There were 623 points in 14 games (44.5 points per game).
BEST AND WORST
Most costly injury – Pittsburgh center Maurkice Pouncey suffered season-ending torn ligament in his right knee. He was the heart of a rebuilt offensive line. Ben Roethlisberger was sacked five times in Sunday’s 16-9 home loss to Tennessee and things don’t figure to improve...The Steelers also lost veteran linebacker Larry Foote to a ruptured right biceps.
Happiest players on losing teams – How about Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and Cleveland WR Tori Gurley.. . Fitzgerald, a great player who was hampered by four mediocre-or-worse QBs last season. Strong-armed Carson Palmer connected Sunday with Fitzgerald for 8 catches for 80 yards and 2 TDs. He had 798 yards receiving and 4 TDs all last season...Gurley, cut by seven NFL teams, had a 15-yard catch in his NFL debut.
Best comeback (senior assistant coach for defense category) – By Tennessee’s Gregg Williams. Coming off a one-year suspension (Bountygate), he helped engineer a 16-9 road win over Pittsburgh.
Worst team performance – By Jacksonville in a 28-2 home loss to Kansas City. Both teams were 2-14 last season. The Chiefs underachieved and are much better now. The Jaguars did not underachieve and could be worse now.
Best sport (coaching category) – Green Bay’s Mike McCarthy, who said of the officiating error that contributed significantly to a 34-28 road loss to the 49ers: “Hey, that’s part of the game. The ball doesn’t always bounce your way.”
Least-disciplined player – DT Ndamukong Suh (Detroit) continued to hurt the Lions with his dirty play. He dived into Minnesota center John Sullivan’s vulnerable and just-repaired left knee several yards behind a play. He was penalized, wiping out a touchdown on an interception.
(Photo Courtesy: bleacherreport.com)
Eight of the 32 NFL teams (25 percent) have new head coaches this season. On Sunday, Bruce Arians (Arizona), Gus Bradley (Jacksonville), Rob Chudzinski (Cleveland) and Doug Marrone (Buffalo) lost. Andy Reid (Kansas City) and Marc Trestman (Chicago) won. Chip Kelly (Philadelphia) and Mike McCoy (San Diego) make their debuts Monday night.
Since returning to the NFL in 1999, Cleveland has opened the regular season at home 14 of 15 times. They are 1-13 in those games.
2012 NFL MVP Adrian Peterson had an interesting game in a 34-24 loss to Minnesota He had 93 yards rushing, but 78 came on his first carry. On his 17 other carries, he had a total of 15 yards.
Bryan Anger (Jacksonville) set a team record with 11 punts in a 28-2 home loss to Kansas City.
Miami beat host Cleveland 23-10 despite averaging only 0.9 yards per carry (23x20).
Another clue that the NFL is a pass-happy league: There were only two 100-yard rushers Thursday and Sunday and top rusher was a quarterback – Terrelle Pryor with 112 yards. There were 17 100-yard receivers.
Indianapolis had the NFL’s best penalty/yards penalized ratios in the NFL last season: 94x801 yards; opponents 128x1208; +407 yards). The Colts had only 3 penalties for 51 yards Sunday in a 21-17 home win over Oakland (8x51). The Colts are disciplined and seldom beat themselves.
Bill Belichick (New England) logged his 206th career coaching victory, lifting him to No. 5 on the NFL all-time list (one up on Marty Schottenheimer).
The Buffalo Bills are 6-14 in their last 20 season-opening games.
The Manning brothers Week 1 – Peyton Manning (Denver) 27x42 (.643) for 462 yards; 7 TD passes; 0 INTs; sacked 3 times; 141.1 passer rating; won 49-27 over Baltimore...won; Eli Manning (NY Giants) 27x42 (.643) for 450 yards; 4 TD passes; 3 INTs; sacked 3 times; 102.3 passer rating; lost 36-31 to Dallas.
Indianapolis won its first Week 1 game since 2009.
Tony Gonzalez (Atlanta) became the third player in NFL history to have a TD catch in 17 different seasons: Jerry Rice 19 and Irving Fryar 17.
The Oneida Indian Nation ran radio ads in Washington prior to Monday night’s Philadelphia Eagles at Washington game. In the ad, Oneida Nation spokesman Ray Halbritter said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell should “stand up to bigotry” by denouncing “the racial slur” in the Redskins name.
An NFL-record nine African-American quarterbacks started Week 1.
The only starting QBs in Week 1 that were sixth-round draft picks or worse: Tom Brady (6th round) and Tony Romo (not drafted)...22 of the Week 1 QB starters were first-round draft picks.
Players starting the season on IR (injured reserve) in the last five seasons: 104 in 2009...135 in 2010...121 in 121...142 in 2012...170 in 2013.
Thumbs up to SI.com’s popular NFL guru and “MMQB” creator Peter King for saying he won’t use the name “Redskins” when he writes about Washington’s NFL team. He says “it is offensive to too many people.” King has a lot of clout.
Peyton Manning is the early favorite for a record fifth NFL Most Valuable Player, but his 9-11 record in the postseason rightly is the main reason most analysts don’t rank him the all-time No. 1 NFL QB.
God could help Tim Tebow by suggesting that he abandon his dream of becoming a decent NFL quarterback. I sort of missed him NFL Week 1 – in some role.
Thursday night’s game won’t be an entertaining matchup: New York Jets at New England. Geno Smith vs. Tom Brady. The inept Jets’ offense can’t possibly outscore the Patriots, can it?
Jets coach Rex Ryan after an improbable 18-17 home win over Tampa Bay: “Man, oh man. We talk about a resilient group, and we certainly have it. We fought all the way to the end. One team, one fight, well there it is.”
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin after a season-opening 16-9 home loss to Tennessee: “We’ve got a lot of work to do. Nobody cares about our problems...They’re glad we’ve got them...We need to stick together and persevere.”
Panthers QB Cam Newton after a 12-7 home loss to Seattle: “Everybody, let’s not panic now . We’re going to be all right. This is the first game. We played an unbelievable team.”
Dolphins coach Joe Philbin after his team had 20 yards on 23 carries in a 23-10 victory at Cleveland: “That’s not a good way to live in the NFL, you’ve gotta have balance. Obviously we did not have that.”
Lions RB Reggie Bush after a 34-24 home win over Minnesota: “That is exactly what we talked about in March (before he signed a four-year, $16-million contract). We wanted to get me into space with a mismatch against a linebacker or safety, and that’s what happened. You can do that because of Calvin (star wide receiver Calvin Johnson).”
WEEK 1 TOP PERFORMERS
300-yard passers (10)
Peyton Manning (Denver) – 462
Eli Manning (New York Giants) – 450
Colin Kaepernick (San Francisco) – 412
Joe Flacco (Baltimore) – 362
Matthew Stafford (Detroit) -- 357
Drew Brees (New Orleans) – 357
Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay) – 333
Carson Palmer (Arizona) – 327
Russell Wilson (Seattle) – 320
Matt Ryan (Atlanta) – 304
100-yard rushers (2)
Terrelle Pryor (Oakland) -- 112
Shane Vereen (New England) – 101
100-yard receivers (16)
Anquan Boldin (San Francisco) 208
A.J. Green (Cincinnati) – 162
Demaryius Thomas (Denver) – 161
Vincent Jackson (Tampa Bay) – 154
Jared Cook (St. Louis) – 141
Jerome Simpson (Minnesota) – 140
Jordy Nelson (Green Bay) – 130
Victor Cruz (NY Giants) – 118
Brian Hartline (Miami) – 114
Hakeem Nicks (NY Giants) – 114
Julius Thomas (Denver) – 110
Jordan Cameron (Cleveland) – 108
Randall Cobb (Green Bay) -- 108
Danny Amendola (New England) – 104
Brandon Marshall (Chicago) – 104
Reggie Bush (Detroit) - 101
NEXT WEEK’S TOP GAMES
Washington at Green Bay. Two likely playoff teams (1 p.m., Sunday).
Dallas at Kansas City. How much have the Chiefs improved? (1 p.m., Sunday).
Denver at the New York Giants. Battle of the Manning brothers(4:25 p.m., Sunday).
San Francisco at Seattle. Billed as the two best teams in the NFC (8:30 p.m., Sunday).
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati. These two AFC North rivals both lost Week 1.