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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.
BACK TO REALITY – THE KEY “P” WORD FOR BILLS IS PATIENCE
BOB’S TOP THREE: SEATTLE, DENVER, NEW ORLEANS
0-3 TEAMS IN BAD SHAPE – BUT NOT DOOMED
It didn’t take long for the Buffalo Bills to lose any momentum and confidence they built in Week 2’s exciting 24-23 home win over Carolina.
Sunday’s 27-20 road loss to the New York Jets was just what the Bills didn’t need. It was the sort of game a legitimate playoff contender has to win.
In the minds of most NFL observers, the Jets entered Sunday as one of the league’s two or three worst teams. Buffalo was rated a few spots better.
The theory was that the Jets had a relatively narrow advantage defensively over Buffalo, and the Bills had a more substantial advantage on offense – particularly at rookie quarterback and running back.
Ooops. The Jets’ rookie -- Geno Smith -- was much better on Sunday than EJ Manuel. He was more aggressive and daring. He didn’t play like a rookie. Manuel did. He was indecisive throughout the game. He failed to throw the ball away at appropriate times. Eight sacks were the result. He badly overthrew his receivers in key situations, giving them no chance to make plays.
Buffalo’s offensive line, so decent in the first two games, was pretty much awful Sunday. C.J. Spiller’s 10 carries for 9 yards was proof of that. I don’t know about you, but I hadn’t heard of Bilal Powell before he plowed for 149 yards against Buffalo’s ineffective defensive line.
Losing a tight game to the Jets wouldn’t have been demoralizing. But the way the Jets manhandled the Bills in this mostly ugly game was pitiful. The Jets, one of the NFL’s weakest offensive teams, outgained Buffalo 513 to 328 and averaged 7.3 yards per play. The Jets aren’t supposed to be able to do that.
The Jets, not your basic ball-control team, dominated time of possession (34:13 to 25:47).
Give Buffalo credit for hanging in there for most of the game. The zebras helped keep it close. Teams flagged a franchise-record 20 times for 168 yards aren’t supposed to win NFL games. The Jets did.
The Bills got the worst of the injuries, too. All in all, a very bad afternoon for the good guys.
10-6 seems extremely unlikely now. It would take a huge effort to upset the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens at the Ralph Sunday. The Thursday night game in Cleveland Oct. 3 suddenly is no lock.
On a very good day with a healthy roster, the Bills care capable of beating all but the five-or-so elite teams in the NFL.
The POTENTIAL is there. There are legitimate hopes for a PLAYOFF berth in the next two or three years. But for now, the most appropriate “p” word for the Bills is back to PATIENCE.
NFL WEEEK 3
Dallas RB DeMarco Murray – He had 175 yards and 1 TD on 26 carries Sunday in a 31-7 home romp over Arizona.
Tennessee QB Jake Locker – His 299 passing yards included a 34-yard TD strike to Justin Hunter with 00:15 to play in a 20-17 ho0me victory over San Diego.
Cleveland QB Brian Hoyer and WR Josh Gordon – Hoyer was 30x53 for 321 yards and 3 TDs and Gordon had 10 catches for 146 yards and 1 TD in a 31-27 road win over Minnesota.
Detroit WRs Nate Burleson and Calvin Johnson – They combined for 13 catches for 321 yards and 1 TD in a 27-20 road win over Washington.
Carolina QB Cam Newton – The good Cam showed up Sunday. He was 15x27 for 223 yards and 3 TD passes, and had 7 carries for 45 yards and 1 TD in a 38-0 home romp over the New York Giants.
Cincinnati LB Vontaze Burfict -- He had 10 solo tackles in a 34-30 home win over Green Bay.
New Orleans TE Jimmy Graham – He had 9 catches for 134 yards and 2 TDs in a 31-7 home win over Arizona.
Kansas City Justin Houston – He had 4 ½ sacks in a 26-16 road win over Philadelphia.
(Photo Courtesy: espn.go.com)
San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick – He was off form in his first home loss for the 49ers, 27-7 to Indianapolis. He was 13x27 foe 150 yards and 0 TD passes. He threw an interception, lost a =fumble and had 20 yards on 7 carries (2.9-yard average).
The New York Giants – This is a team dishonor. The defensive unit was bad. The offensive unit was worse in a shockingly inept 38-0 loss to the Carolina Panthers...The Giants were expected to roll up yardage against Carolina’s injury-plagued secondary, but Eli Manning passed for only 119 yards.
Arizona QB Carson Palmer – He had 0 TD passes, 2 INTs and a 43.4 passer rating in a 31-7 road loss to New Orleans.
Philadelphia QB Michael Vick – He still can motor (5 carries for 95 yards) and he still has problems protecting the football. He completed only 13 of 30 passes and had three (two INTs and a lost fumble) of this team’s five turnovers in a 26-16 home loss to Kansas City.
BOB”S NFL POWER RANKING
1—Seahawks – No mercy on Jaguars
2—Broncos – Host Oakland Monday night
3—Saints – Making up for lost 2012 season
4—Bears – Well-balanced team
5—Chiefs – From 2-14 to 3-0
6—Patriots – Still know how to win
7—Dolphins – Tannehill has come of age
8—Ravens – Crushed Houston
9—Cowboys – Best team in Texas (for now)
10—Bengals – Huge home win over Green Bay
11—Texans—Embarrassed in Baltimore
12—Colts – Upset host San Francisco
13—Lions – Tough team to gauge
14—Titans – Can run and play defense
15—49ers – Figure to rebound quickly
16—Packers – Lost shootout in Cincinnati
17—Jets – Ugly home win over Buffalo
18—Falcons – Has this team peaked?
19—Eagles – Kelly misses Oregon’s depth
20 – Panthers – Humiliated Giants
21—Raiders – Can better rating Monday night
22 – Chargers – Hot-and-cold team
23 – Cleveland – Surprising win in Minnesota
24 – Bills – The roller-coaster ride continues
25—Rams – Disappointment so far
26—Cardinals – Not boring but still losing
27—Vikings – Need more from Peterson
28—Steelers – Comeback bid failed vs. Chicago
29—Buccaneers – No match for New England
30 – Redskins – Defenseless
31 – Giants – Who knew they’d be this bad?
32—Jaguars – Excellent 0-16 potential
Home teams Thursday and Sunday were 10-5 outright (31-16 this season) and 9-5-1 against the Las Vegas point spread (25-19-3 this season).
Favorites were 9-5 outright (34-12 this season) and 8-6-1 against the point spread (27-18-2 this season).
Teams scoring first were 8-7 (27-20 this season)
Teams leading after the first quarter were 7-4 (20-12 this season)
Teams leading at halftime were 12-2 (28-15 this season)
Teams leading after three quarters were 10-2 (31-9 this season)
Teams winning the turnover battle were 9-3 (26-10 this season)
Teams leading in time of possession were 9-6 (33-14 this season)
Teams with the most yards rushing were 9-6 (32-15 this season)
Teams with the most yards passing were 10-5 (30-17 this season)
Teams entering the game with the better record were 7-1 (10-4 this season)
One of the 15 games were decided by 3 points or fewer (12 of 47 games this season)...6 of 15 games were decided by 7 points or fewer (28 of 47games this season)
There were 683 points scored in 15 games (45’5-point average)
The AFC was 6-2 vs. the NFC in the 8 interleague games and leads this season’s interleague series 11-3 . That’s a big surprise. Most analysts expect the NFC to be the stronger conference this season. It isn’t so far.
NFL NOTES AND FACTS
The Baltimore Ravens are early 3 ½-point favorites at Buffalo Sunday.
The Minnesota Vikings need more from Adrian Peterson: Game 1 – 18 carries for 93 yards...Game 2 -- 26 carries for 100 yards...Game 3 -- 25 carries for 88 yards.
Entering Sunday, the Carolina Panthers had blown fourth-quarter leads 10 times in their 21 losses under coach Ron Rivera. The erased some bad memories Sunday with a 38-0 home romp over the New York Giants...Carolina’s 38-point victory margin is a team record.
The Giants have 133 yards rushing, the fifth-lowest total through the first three games of a season since the 1970 merger.
Detroit had lost 21 straight games in Washington since 1939 before Sunday’s 27-20 victory.
The Jets entered Sunday with five consecutive losses against AFC East foes.
Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh) entered Sunday with a 15-1 record at home vs. NFC opponents.
DeMarcus Ware (Dallas) had 2 sacks Sunday to top Harvey Martin’s 30-year-old team record of 114.
Byes begin this week: Carolina and Green Bay. Buffalo’s bye will be Week 12 (the latest).
(Photo Courtesy: blogs.dallasobserver.com)
Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano on QB Andrew Luck after a 27-7 road win over San Francisco: “I know he’s grinning from ear to ear. I’ve never seen him smile the way he was smiling after this one.”
Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers after a wild 34-30 at Cincinnati: “It was a frustrating game. We spot ‘em 14, score 30 in a row, and they get 20. I played poorly and the defense played well enough for us to win.”
Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis: “We learned some valuable lessons and survived one today that you don’t survive very often.”
Dallas coach Jason Garrett on DeMarco Murray’s 175 yards on 26 carries in a 31-7 home win over St. Louis: “When you get a runner like that going, You can feed on him. He gets a little contagious for everybody. Everybody starts feeling it.”
New Orleans DE Cameron Jordan, who had two of his team’s four sacks in a 31-7 home win over Arizona: “It was pressure everywhere. When you’re part of a D-line like that, I mean, it’s a party.”
Baltimore LB Daryl Smith on his game-turning 37-yard INT return in a 30-9 home win over Houston: “It’s like a dream; it’s hazy. I remember catching it and running as fast as I can.”
Washington CB DeAngelo Hall after a 27-20 home loss to Detroit dropped the Redskins to 0-3: “The food isn’t going to taste that good tonight. Still trying to wrap my head around what we can do to get better.”
WEEK 3’S TOP PERFORMERS
Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh) 406 yards (lost)
Matthew Stafford (Detroit) 395 (won)
Drew Brees (New Orleans) 342 (won)
Geno Smith (NY Jets) 331 (won)
Robert Griffin III (Washington) 326 (lost)
Brian Hoyer (Cleveland) 321 (won)
DeMarco Murray (Dallas) 175 yards (won)
LeSean McCoy (Philadelphia) 158 (lost)
Bilal Powell (NY Jets) 149 (won)
DeAngelo Williams (Carolina) 120 (won)
Jonathan Franklln (Green Bay) 103 (lost)
Antonio Brown (Pittsburgh) 196 yards (lost)
Santonio Holmes (NJ Jets) 154 (won)
Josh Gordon (Cleveland) 146 (won)
Cecil Shorts (Jacksonville) 143 (lost)
Donnie Avery (Kansas City) 141 (won)
Jimmy Graham (New Orleans) 134 (won)
Nate Washington (Tennessee) 131 (won)
Julio Jones (Atlanta) 115 (lost)
Stephen Hill (NY Jets) 108 (won).
THIS WEEK’S KEY GAMES
New York Giants at Kansas City – Can the surprising Chiefs start 4-0?
Seattle at Houston – A tough road test for the Seahawks
Philadelphia at Denver – Over/under 60 points?
New England at Atlanta – Brady vs. Ryan should be fun
Miami at New Orleans – Are the Dolphins for real?
WINLESS NFL TEAMS CAN USE THE 1992 CHARGERS FOR INSPIRATION
These teams are 0-3 and in deep trouble: Buccaneers, Giants, Jaguars, Redskins, Steelers, Vikings.
Since 1978, when the NFL went to a 16-game schedule, 161 teams started a season 0-3 and only 5 (3.1 percent) rallied to make the playoffs: 1981 Jets...1982 Tampa Bay...1992 San Diego...1998 Buffalo (Doug Flutie’s glory year; 0-3 start to 10-6 finish),,,1995 Detroit.
This season’s six 0-3 teams might check out the 1992 Chargers for inspiration. They started 0-4 (outscored 95-29). They went 10-1 thereafter (outscored opponents 306-146 over that span). The offensive stars of that team were QB Stan Humphries, RB Marion Butts, WR Anthony Miller and RB-WR Ronnie Harmon. San Diego beat Kansas City 17-0 in a wild-card game before losing 31-0 at Miami in the division playoffs.
SLAPPING HITS TO ALL FIELDS
The New York Yankees will post their 21st consecutive winning season. The only longer streak was 39 straight winning seasons by the Yankees (1926 through 1964). I believe that record is safe.
Of the 33 players on the active roster of the Minnesota Twins down the stretch, 20 spent time with the Rochester Red Wings this season. They’ve had a rough month. Entering Sunday, the Twins were 4-13 and outscored 115-48 in their last 17 games. The Twins figure to be much stronger soon.
It will be interesting to see where 2013 International League MVP and Rookie of the Year Chris Colabello will start next season. The Twins would love to have him be their starting first baseman or DH. A stint in Rochester is a possibility.
Through August 12, Hiroki Kuroda was 11-7 with an excellent 2.33 ERA. He was one of baseball’s best pitchers. Who could have guessed that he would be one the biggest reasons the New York Yankees probably won’t make the postseason. Since Aug. 12, in his seven starts, he had an 0-5 record and allowed 29 earned runs in 41 innings.
(Photo Courtesy: www.cbssports.com)
Texas A&M head football coach Kevin Sumlin didn’t do quarterback Johnny Manziel’s hopes for a repeat Heisman Trophy any favors by taking him out of the game after Manziel led the team to a 39-6 lead over SMU with a TD drive to start the third quarter. Many other coaches would’ve left their star QBs in longer and I’m pretty sure many home fans who enjoy watching Manziel play were disappointed.
Sorry, A-Rod fans, I’m picking on your guy again. I was saddened when he broke Lou Gehrig’s career record for grand slams and I’m hoping he doesn’t catch and pass Willie Mays’ 660 career HRs. Gehrig and Mays were great and honest players. A-Rod has been a great player but has not done it on his own.