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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.
Just when you thought the quarterback situation for the Buffalo Bills couldn’t get any worse, retread Thad Lewis will try to shake off the rust and start Sunday at home against the Cincinnati Bengals.
How could this happen? In Week 6 of a season?
Why was no veteran QB signed to back up rookie starter EJ Manuel before this season kicked off?
How could the Bills have no plan in place? QBs get hurt in this league all the time?
So careless. So reckless. So – well – dumb.
So now the fans are asked to scoop up all the remaining tickets to Sunday’s game in time to lift the blackout so everyone in western New York would have the opportunity to watch this game.
A victory Sunday would be a stunning upset and uplift the spirits of long-suffering Bills fans. But right now, as things stand, this is embarrassing.
ONLY THREE UNDEFEATED NFL TEAMS ARE LEFT
BRONCOS CLEARLY NO. 1 IN POWER RANKINGS
AND KICKING OFF THE NFL WEEK 5 REPORT WITH A SHOCKER ---
New England QB Tom Brady – Is this a first? He’s human. Price Tom averaged only 5.23 yards on 38 pass attempts for 197 yards Sunday in a 13-6 road loss to Cincinnati. I believe it is safe to say that he will bounce back quickly.
A few other goats:
Carolina QB Cam Newton – He threw 3 INTs without a TD pass, lost a fumble and was sacked 7 times for 50 yards in a 22-6 road loss to Arizona.
New York Giants QB Eli Manning – His nightmarish season continued with 3 more interceptions in a 36-21 home loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Eli now has 8 TD passes and 12 INTs this season for the 0-5 Giants. His older brother, Peyton Manning, has 20 TD passes and 1 INT with the 5-0 Denver Broncos.
Houston QB Matt Schaub – The noose is getting tight. He averaged only 4.9 yards on 35 pass attempts, with 0 TD passes, 3 INTs and a 32.2 passer rating in a 34-3 road loss to San Francisco.
Dallas QB Tony Romo – He was spectacular but not quite good enough in a 51-48 home loss to Denver. He was 25x36, averaging a robust 14.1 yards per attempt, with 5 TD pases, a 140.0 passer rating and – unfortunately – the game-turning INT. That seems to happen to him a lot.
Philadelphia QB Nick Foles -- He replaced injured Michael Vick to go 16x25, with 197 passing yards, 2 TD passes, 0 INTs and a 114.9 passer rating in a 36-21 road win over the New York Giants. Somebody had to beat them.
Baltimore LB Terrell Suggs – He had 3 of his team’s 6 sacks in a 26-23 road victory over Miami.
Oakland QB Terrelle Pryor – He showed flashes of talents and played relatively consistently in a 27-17 home win over San Diego. He didn’t outplay Philip Rivers on the stats sheet but did on the fields.
St. Louis QB Sam Bradford – If only every NFL QB could get a crack at Jacksonville ever season. Bradford completed 19 of 34 passes for 22 yards, with 3 TD passes, 0 INTs and a 105.3 passer rating in a 34-20 home win over the Jaguars.
New Orleans QB Drew Brees – No dome, no problem. He was 29x36 for 288 yards, with 2 TD passes, 0 INTs and a 120.0 passer rating in a 26-18 road victory over Chicago.
Chicago WR Alshon Jeffery – He caught 10 passes from Jay Cutler for 218 yards and 1 TD in the loss to the Saints.
Cleveland WR-KR Travis Benjamin – He returned 7 punts for 179 yards; including a 78-yarde TD, in last Thursday night’s 37-24 home win over Buffalo.
KANSAS CITY, DENVER, NEW ORLEANS STILL PERFECT
How they got here: Kansas City, 2-14 last season, started this season with a new coach (Andy Reid), a new quarterback (Alex Smith), much a the same underachieving roster and a new attitude....They got an early break opening at Jacksonville, then won their home opener 17-16 overall Dallas, won 26-16 at Philadelphia, embarrassed visiting New York 31-7 and won 26-17 at Tennessee Sunday.
Denver‘s thrilling 51-48 win in Dallas was the first close call for the Broncos, who’ve outscored opponents by 91 points. They beat Baltimore 49-27, the host Giants 41-23, Oakland 37-21, and Philadelphia 52-20 before Sunday. The offense is loaded and the defense will improve when Von Miller’s suspension ends after Week 6.
New Orleans obviously has responded favorably to the return of coach Sean Payton from the Bountygate fiasco. The Saints have ripped through Atlanta (23-17), host Tampa Bay 16=14, Arizona 38-17, Miami 38-17 and host Chicago 26-18 Sunday.
What’s ahead: Kansas City could be setting up nicely with three straight home games (Oakland, Houston and Cleveland), at Buffalo and a bye...Denver’s three games entering the bye are home against Jacksonville (favored by 28?), at Indianapolis (Peyton Manning’s return vs. Andrew Luck; how hot will that ticket be?) and Washington... The Saints next visit the wounded Patriots, bye week, host Buffalo and at the Jets.
How they rate: The Broncos deserve to be rated the NFL’s No. 1 team. The league is designed to throw the football and no team does it better than Peyton Manning and Co....The Saints rate a notch below Denver...The Chiefs are another notch below New Orleans.
AFC West rivals Denver and Kansas City will collide at Denver Nov. 17 and Dec. 1 at Kansas City...New Orleans will face a tough very stretch Nov. 10 home vs. Dallas, Nov. 17 home against San Francisco, , at Atlanta Nov. 21 and at Seattle Dec. 2.
NFL NOTES, FACTS AND STATS
Green Bay is 15-1 in its last 16 games against Detroit. In Aaron Rodgers’ nine career starts against the Lions, he is 9-0 with 2,513 yards passing, 19 TD passes and 4 INTs.
Seattle had won its last nine regular season games by an average score of 33.6-6 to 11.9 before Sunday’s 34-28 loss at Indianapolis.
After Baltimore had 50 passes and only running plays Week 4 in a 23-20 road loss to Buffalo, the Ravens had a more reasonable 40 runs and 32 passes in Sunday’s 26-23 road win over Miami.
Kansas City has scored 50 points off turnovers this season and Tennessee has scored 52 off turnovers.
Colin Kaeapernick (San Francisco) was 6x15 for 113 yards in a 34-3 home romp over Housdton.
Ryan Fitzpatrick wasn’t sharp in his season’s debut with Tennessee Sunday, but most Buffalo fans must be wishing he could be available this Sunday. He was 21x41 for 247 yards, with 1 TD pass, 2 INTs, a TD run, 3 sacks and a 57.7 passer rating in a 26-17 home loss to Kansas City.
ONE TEAM HAS TO WIN THE NFC EAST
Where can a team be 0-5, leading the NFL in giveaways (20), second-worst in point differential (-100) be and STILL be very much alive in the race for a playoff berth?
ANSWER: The New York Giants in the beloved NFC East.
The division’s four teams are a combined 5-14 and the Giants trail co-leaders Dallas and Philadelphia by only two games each.
Games within the division will be extra, super-duper important this season:
Home dates to circle:
Cowboys – Washington Oct. 13...Philadelphia Dec. 29
Eagles – Dallas Oct. 20...Giants Oct. 27...Washington Nov. 17
Redskins – Giants Dec. 1...Dallas Dec. 22
Giants – Dallas Nov. 24...Washington Dec. 29.
BOB’S WEEK 6 POWER RANKINGS
1—Broncos – king of the mountain
2—Saints—same old offense, better defense
3—Chiefs—I guess Andy Reid can coach a bit
4—Colts—not many doubters yet
5—Seahawks—won’t be down long
6—Patriots—were due for a loss
7—Packers—still in seek of best stride
8—Bengals—solid win over New England
10—Ravens –always dangerous
11—Cowboys—emptied holsters in loss to Denver
12—Bears—host Giants Thursday night
13—Browns—hope to make Lions next victim
14—Lions—can’t afford to overlook Cleveland
15—Dolphins—tough home loss to Baltimore
16—Cardinals—Trounded visiting Carolina
17—Rams—can’t play Jaguars every week
19—Titans—tough team to gauge
20--Eagles—ran away from Giants
21—Raiders—Pryor showing some signs
22—Falcons—is this team stale?
23—Jets—tough test Monday night in Atlanta
24—Bills—The Great QB Mystery
25—Panthers—impossible to gauge
26—San Diego...poor effort in loss to Oakland
28—Redskins—never say die in NL East
29—Buccananeers—not much to like
30—Steelers—Pirates taking off some heat
31—Giants—resemble the aging Yankees
32—Jaguars—host Buffalo Dec. 15
WEEK 5 NFL STAT PACK
Home teams were 8-5 outright Thursday and Sunday (49-27 this season) and 8-5 against the Las Vegas point spread (43-30-3) this season)
Las Vegas favorites were 7-6 outright (51-25 this season) and 7-6 against the point spread (44-30-2 this season)
Teams winning the turnover battle were 9-1 (44-12 this season)
Teams leading in time of possession were 9-4 (54-22 this season)
Teams with the most yards rushing were 9-4 (52-23 this season)
Teams with the most yards passing were 5-8 (45-31 this season)
Teams with the fewer penalties were 7-6 (32-38 this season) and teams with the fewer yards penalized were 6-7 (36-39 this season)
Teams scoring first were 7-6 (44-33 this season)
Teams leading after the first quarter were 5-6 (34-23 this season)
Teams leading at halftime were 9-3 (48-17 this season)
Teams leading after the third quarter were 11-1 (55-13 this season)
Team with the better record entering the game were 6-5 (22-15 this season)
Two of the 13 games were decided by 3 points or less (17 of 76 games this season)
Four of the 13 games were decided by 7 points or less (37 of 76 games this season)
There were 630 points in 13 games (48.5-point average)
The AFC and NFC split four games Thursday and Sunday and the AFC lead this season’s interconference series 17-9.
NFL WEEK 5’s TOP PERFORMERS
Tony Romo (Dallas) 506 yards (lost)
Peyton Manning (Denver) 414 (won)
Philip Rivers (San Diego) 411 (lost)
Jay Cutler (Chicago) 358 (lost)
Eli Manning (NY Giants) 334 (lost)
Ryan Tannehill (Miami) 307 (lost)
Alshon Jeffery (Chicago ) 218 yards (lost)
Terrance Williams (Dallas) 151 (lost)
Dez Bryant (Dallas) 141 (lost)
Hakeem Nicks (NY Giants) 142 (lost)
T.Y. Hilton (Indianapolis) 140 (won)
Justin Blackmon (Tampa Bay) 136
Jimmy Graham (New Orleans) 125 (won)
DeSean Jackson (Philadelphia) 132 (won)
Jason Witten (Dallas) 121 (lost)
James Jones (Green Bay) 127 (won)
Torrey Smith (Baltimore) 121 (won)
Vincent Brown (San Diego) 117 (lost)
Keenan Allen (San Diego) 115 (lost)
Mike Wallace (Miami) 105 (lost)
Jamaal Charles (Kansas City) 108 yards (won)
Marshawn Lynch (Seattle) 102 (lost)
Russell Wilson (Seattle) 102 (lost)
There were 630 American Hockey League graduates on NHL opening-day rosters (84-plus percent). There were 23 former AHL head coaches starting this season as NHL head coaches. A total of 346 players played in both the NHL and AHL last season.
Good news for Johnny Football fans – and who isn’t? – Texas A&M, coming off a bye week will play at Ole Miss Saturday, 8:30 p.m., on ESPN. It always is fun to watch Manziel play, put particularly when is dazzling and annoying hostile crowds.
Thumbs up to the University of Buffalo Bulls, who opened the season with lopsided road losses to powerhouse programs Ohio State (40-20) and Baylor (70-13) and have since won three straight games (over Stony Brook, Connecticut and Eastern Michigan) to build some confidence and momentum. The Bulls play at Eastern Michigan Saturday.
The Red Wings have added another potential arm to the bullpen for next season – 6-foot-7, left-handed relief pitcher Duke Welker. He was 3-4 with a .3.57 ERA and 9 saves for the Indianapolis Indians this season. In two one-inning scoreless relief stints in Rochester Aug. 22, 24, he struck out five Red Wings. He’s 27 and the player obtained from Pittsburgh for Justin Morneau.