BOB MATTHEWS SPORTS TALK
Weeknights 6:00PM - 8:00PM
on WHAM 1180
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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.
GIVING CREDIT TO THE NEW YORK GIANTS
BILLS WEREN’T GREAT BUT DIDN’T NEED TO BE
NFL UNDERDOGS NOW FAT 56-32-2 AGAINST THE LAS VEGAS SPREAD
YANKEES CONTINUE HITTING FLOP
You’ve got to hand it to the New York Giants. They might not have the most overall talent in the NFL, but coach Tom Coughlin knows how to motivate them for big games.
He did it again last week, when he brainwashed his players into thinking no one gave them a chance to upset the 49ers in San Francisco.
Sunday’s final score: Giants 26, 49ers 3.
The Giants sometimes lose games they figure to win, but no team wins more really big games.
Since the start of the 2007 season, the Giants are 53-33 in the regular season and 8-1 in the postseason, with upset victories in Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLVI.
--The Buffalo Bills weren’t great Sunday afternoon in Arizona. They played well enough to beat maybe five teams in the NFL. Fortunately, one of them was the overrated Cardinals. The Bills are 3-3 despite three wretched performances against the Jets, New England and San Francisco. A home win Sunday against Tennessee (Buffalo is favored by 3 ½ points) would make them 4-3 heading into their bye week. Playoff fever would be back in full swing. At least Sports Illustrated’s Peter King figures to ease up on the Bills. Before Sunday’s win over Arizona, he wrote (and he was right): “The most stunning thing about the NFL, heading into Week 6? How bad the Buffalo Bills have looked, especially on defense. To allow 90 points to anyone in a six quarter span is a disgrace, particularly for a team that appeared to be a solid playoff contender six weeks ago. If Marcell Dareus and Mario Williams don’t raise their games, and fast, this is going to be one of the most disappointing seasons in Bills history.”
--Another reason to be mildly hopeful regarding Buffalo’s playoff hopes: All four teams in the AFC East will enter Week 7 with 3-3 records. Buffalo is 0-2 vs. division rivals so far and simply has to do better: at New England Nov. 11, home against Miami Thursday night, Nov. 15, at Miami Dec. 23, and home against the New York Jets Dec. 30.
WEEK 6’s NFL HEROES:
Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers – He was in MVP form, hitting 24 of 37 passes for 338 yards, with 6 TD passes and 0 INTs in a 42-24 road romp over the previously undefeated Houston Texans.
Washington QB Robert Griffin III – Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg didn’t pitch in he playoffs when he was perfectly healthy. His team lost in the NLDS. Griffin played Sunday coming off a concussion and the Redskins won 38-26 over favored visiting Minnesota. The spectacular rookie was 17x22 for 182 yards, with 1 TD and 1 INT, and ran 13 times for 138 yards (10,6-yard average) and 2 TDs.
Baltimore kick returner Jacoby Jones – He returned a kickoff an NFL record-tying 108 yards to help the Ravens beat visiting Dallas 31-29.
Dallas RBs DeMarco Murray and Felix Jones – They combined for 32 carries for 185 yards and 1 TD in the disappointing loss to Baltimore.
New York Jets RB Shonn Greene—He had a career-best 161 yards rushing on 32 carries and scored 3 TDs in a 35-9 home romp over Indianapolis.
Detroit QB Matthew Stafford – He passed for 311 yards and had a TD pass and a TD run in the fourth quarter of a 26-23 overtime road win over Philadelphia.
Atlanta CB Asante Samuel – His 79-yard interception return for a TD helped the Falcons boost their record to 6-0 with a 23-20 home win over Oakland.
Tampa Bay QB Josh Freeman – He threw for 328 yards, including TD passes to Mike Williams (62 yards) and Vincent Jackson (19 and 17 yards) in a 38-10 home win over Kansas City.
Cincinnati WR A.J. Green – Is he the best wide receiver in the NFL? He caught 7 passes for 135 yards and 2 TDs in a 34-24 road loss to Cleveland.
Houston QB Matt Schaub and RB Arian Foster – Schaub had 0 TD passes and 2 INTs and Foster was held to 29 yards on 17 carries in a 42-24 home loss to Green Bay.
Indianapolis QB Andrew Luck – He finally played like a rookie in Sunday’s 35-9 road loss to the New York Jets: 22x44 (for 280 yards) with 0 TD passes, 2 INTs and a lost fumble.
Philadelphia QB Michael Vick – He boosted his giveaways count to 12 for the season with 2 INTs in a 26-23 overtime home loss to Detroit.
Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton – He passed for 381 yards but had 3 INTs and a lost fumble in a 34-24 road loss to Cleveland.
Kansas City QB Brady Quinn – In his first NFL start in nearly three years, he had 0 TD passes and 2 INTs in a 38-10 loss at Tampa Bay.
St. Louis Greg Zuerlein – The rookie star made his first two field goals to boost his mark to 15x15 for the season before missing from 48, 32 and 66 yards. The final try would’ve been the longest in NFL history and came on the final play of the 17-14 loss at Miami. He had the distance but missed wide left.
NFL NOTES , FACTOIDS AND OPINIONS
Cleveland beat Cincinnati 34-24 to end an 11-game losing streak and an 8-game losing streak against AFC North rivals under coach Pat Shurmur…Oakland’s 23-20 loss in Atlanta at least was close. The Raiders have lost seven straight games in the Eastern Time Zone. The previous six losses were by an average of 16.5 points…The Raiders outgained Atlanta 474-286 in the loss. Oakland was called for 12 penalties for 110 yards. The Falcons were flagged 2 times for 25 yards…The Falcons are 4-0 in games decidd by a TD or less…Atlanta coach Mike Smith is 49-21 and tied Dan Reeves as the winningest coach in team history…Tennessee held an opponent to under 30 points for the first time this season in a 26-23 home win over Pittsburgh last Thursday night…Pittsburgh has three straight road losses this season and is 1-5 in its last 6 road games overall…Hard-luck Dallas lost 31-29 at Baltimore despite outgaining the Ravens 481-316 and dominating time of possession (40:03 to 19:57)…Baltimore has won 14 straight home games by a combined 391-238), the best active streak in the NFL. Atlanta is next-best with 9 straight home wins. Buffalo stopped Arizona’s 8-game home win streak on Sunday…Baltimore is the fourth team in NFL history to allow 200 yards rushing in two straight games and win both (Elias Sports Bureau)…After completing less than 50 percent of his passes in four straight games (44 percent overall) , Mark Sanchez (New York Jets) was 11x18 in a 35-9 home romp over Indianapolis. He wasn’t great but he was good enough to calm the TebowTalk at least for another week
Green Bay through six games in 2011: 6-0 (outscored opponents 197-114; +83). Green Bay through six games in 2012: 3-3 (outscored opponents 153-134; +19)…Michael Vick (Philadelphia) has 40 giveaways in his last 28 starts…The Packers have won six straight Sunday night games with QB Aaron Rodgers…Washington has at least 175 yards rushing in 8 straight games…Something had to give in the New England (leading the NFL in offense) at Seattle (leading the NFL in defense) game and it was the Patriots. The Seahawks won 24-23…The Minnesota Vikings (vs. a team to be named) reportedly will play a home game in London next season. It will be the NFL’s second game of 2013 season in London. The other game will be a Jacksonville home game against San Francisco…The NFL’s new trade deadline is after Week 8 (it used to be after Week 6). If I were running the Bills, I’d consider asking the Cleveland Browns if they’d be interested in a future draft pick (fifth round or lower) for QB Colt McCoy. He probably wouldn’t be Buffalo’s QB of the future, but he’d be an upgrade at back-up QB for the present…One of the highlights of Anthony Wayne Smith’s life must have been being the No.11 overall pick in the 1990 NFL draft. In a nine-year pro career, he had 57 ½ sacks and 190 tackles with the Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders. He’s 45 now, and one of the lowlights in his life happened last week: He on Friday was ordered by a judge to stand trial for four murders allegedly committed from 1999 through 2008.
NFL WEEK 6’s STAT PACK (entering Monday night’s Denver at San Diego game)
Home teams are 9-4 straight up (56-34 this season) and 6-7 against the Las Vegas point spread (43-45-2 this season)
Las Vegas favorites are 5-8 outright (52-38 this season) and 2-11 against the spread (32-56-2)
Teams winning the turnover battle are 8-0 (56-15 this season)
Teams leading in time of possession are 3-10 (55-35)
Teams entering the game with the better record are 3-9 (23-25)
The teams scoring first are 6-7 (55-35)
Teams leading after the first quarter are 5-8 (45-23)…Teams leading at halftime are 8-5 (67-19)…Teams leading entering the fourth quarter are 10-2 (73-12)
Teams with the most rush yards are 8-5 (60-30)…Teams with the most yards passing are 3-10 (48-42)
Teams with the fewest penalty yards are 10-3 (51-38)
The NFC was 5-4 vs. the AFC in Week 6 and leads this season’s interconference series 19-9.
There have been 2 overtime games Week 6 and there have been 7 this season (home teanms are 3-4).
There have been 623 points in 13 games Week 6 (47.9-point average).
BOB’S NFL POWER RANKINGS (entering Monday night’s Denver at San Diego game)
1Atlanta…2 Baltimore…3 New York Giants…4 Houston…5 Chicago…6 San Francisco…7 Green Bay…8San Diego…9 New England…10 Minnesota…11 Seattle…12 Washington…13 Philadelphia…14 Miami…15 Cincinnati…16 Arizona…17 New York Jets…18 Denver…19 Pittsburgh…20 Dallas…21 Detroit…22 St. Louis…23 Buffalo…24 Indianapolis…25 New Orleans…26 Tampa Bay…27 Oakland…28 Cleveland…29 Carolina…30 Tennessee…31 Jacksonville…32 Kansas City.
WEEK 6’s TOP PERFORMERS
300-yard quarterbacks: Tom Brady (New England) 395 yards (lost)…Andy Dalton (Cincinnati) 391 yards (lost)…Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh) 363 yards (lost)…Carson Palmer (Oakland) 353 yards (lost)…Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay) 338…Sam Bradford (St. Louis) 315 yards (lost)…Matthew Stafford (Detroit) 311 yards (won)…Michael Vick (Philadelphia) 311 yards (lost)
100-yard rushers: Shonn Greene (New York Jets) 161 yards (won)…Robert Griffin III (Washington) 138 yards (won)…Ahmad Bradshaw (New York Giants) 116 yards (won)
100-yard receivers: Wes Welker (New England) 138 yards (lost)…A.J. Green (Cincinnati) 135 yards (lost)…Calvin Johnson (Detroit) 135 (won)…Percy Harvin (Minnesota) 133 (lost)…Jeremy Maclin (Philadelphia) 130 (lost)…Mike Williams (Tampa Bay) 113 (won)…Isaac Redman (Pittsburgh) 105 yards (lost)…Denarius Moore (Oakland) 104 (loss)…Randall Cobb (Green Bay) 102.
WEEK 7’s KEY GAMES
Seattle at San Francisco (Thursday night) – The Seahawks are coming off an upset home win over New England and the 49ers are coming off a disappointing 26-3 home loss to the New York Giants.
New York Jets at New England – The Jets hammered Indianapolis at home on Sunday. Playing the Patriots on the road won’t be as much fun.
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati – The Steelers will try to win their first road game in their fourth try.
YANKEES LIKELY DEAD MINUS JETER
The New York Yankees haven’t many worse nights in their history than Saturday. After rallying for four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to tie Detroit, they lost the game, 4-2, and their captain, Derek Jeter, both in the 12th inning.
Jeter, who has been playing hurt lately, suffered a broken left ankle and will miss the rest of the postseason. That probably won’t be long. The Yankees aren’t the Yankees minus Mr. Yankee.
The best hope to replace Jeter would be to start Raul Ibanez at shortstop and hope nothing is hit to him.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman says Jeter will be ready to go long before spring training, but how can he know? Broken ankles have ended many a baseball career.
Jeter was one of the few Yankees hitting a lick in this postseason: .333 (9x27), with 1 double, 1 triple and 2 RBI.
Jeter had one hit Saturday night. His postseason career is the equivalent of an enter regular season: 158 games; .308 batting average (200x650); 32 doubles; 5 triples; 20 HRs; 61 RBI; 128x23 stolen bases.
The massive choke by most of the big bats on the Yankees continued in Sunday’s 3-0 loss to Detroit.
Here are the playoff batting (?) lines for the worst of the slumping Bronx Bombers:
Nick Swisher -- .154 (4x26); 1 double; 1 RBI; 3 walks; 4 strikeouts
Alex Rodriguez -- .130 (3x23); o RBI; 2 walks; 12 strikeouts
Curtis Granderson -- .115 (3x26; 1 HR; 1 RBI; 3 walks; 14 strikeouts
Robinson Cano -- .063 (2x32); 2 doubles; 4 RBI; 1 walk; 4 RBI; 1 walk; 4 strikeouts
Eric Chavez -- .000 (0x11); 0 RBI; 0 walks; 6 strikeouts
Totals: .102 batting average (12x118); 3 doubles; 1 HR; 6 RBI; 9 walks; 40 strikeouts.
ANDERSON SILVA VS. JON “BONES” JONES MIGHT HAPPEN
--Middleweight champion Anderson Silva defeated light heavyweight Stephan Bonner via technical knockout last Saturday night in the UFC 153 main event. After the fight, Silva said he never would fight a light heavyweight again. Is he lobbying for a bigger payoff to meet Rochester native Jon “Bones” Jones in the fight most UFC fans most want to see?
After Silva’s victory Saturday night, UFC president Dana White said he wants to see the Silva-Jones megafight happen: “I know my man (Silva) says no, no, no to Jon Jones, but the amount of money offered for that fight, he will say yes, yes, yes.”
Silva is 37 and Jones is 24.
THIS COULD BE DAVID STERN’S CROWNING ACHIEVEMENT
David Stern has overall been a very good commissioner for the NBA. One of his greatest accomplishments could be encouraging spreading the NBA gospel (and logo) to China.
The NBA and a Chinese partner plan to open a 120,000-square foot facility in a port city east of Shanghai. The NBA Center in Tianjin will include NBA-style basketball courts, a fitness center and a restaurant. The mixed-use facility also will offer housing for 150,000.
Basketball is immensely popular in China, partly because of the success of Yao Ming in the NBA. Marketing of the NBA product figures to continue to soar. It has left the three other American pro sports – football, baseball and hockey in the dust in terms of participation, building a fan base and marketing opportunities.
Basketball is the cheapest of the four sports and relatively safe. Stern has capitalized on favorable circumstances.
The Yankees aren’t the only team hurting for offense in the playoffs this season. Of the four teams left in contention for the 2012 World Championship, only St. Louis is hitting Here are the numbers entering Monday:
Cardinals -- .249 batting average; 9 HRs; 44 runs in 7 games; 3.05 ERA
Detroit -- .258 batting average; 3 HRs; 26 runs in 7 games; 1.95 ERA
Yankees -- .205; 6 HRs; 20 runs in 7 games; 2.38 ERA
San Francisco -- .196 batting average; 5 HRs; 22 runs in 6 games; 4.42 ERA.
Contract negotiations between former Syracuse U. superstar and National Lacrosse League Most Valuable Player Casey Powell are not going well, which probably why he was a no-show last Saturday night when Team USA lost 12-10 to the more-experienced and favored Iroquois Nationals in the third annual Bowhunter Cup at Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial. Powell would be a great addition to the young NLL defending champion Knighthawks.
--West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith’s Heisman Trophy bid took a big hit in last Saturday’s 49-14 road loss to unranked Texas Tech. For the first game this season, Smith had human being-like passing stats: 29x55 for 227 yards, with 1 TD pass and 0 passes intercepted. For the season, he’s 195x259 (.753) for 2,271 yards, with 29 TD passes and 0 INTs… The Mountaineers, now 5-1, rank 6th out of the 120 Football Subdivision Teams in total offense (3rd in pass offense) but also rank 114th in total defense (118th in pass defense). If Smith could throw against his own team, his numbers would be even more phenomenal.
--With 39 live racing days remaining at Finger Lakes Casino and Racetrack, Wilfredo Rohena continues to threaten to end John R. Davila’s nine-year reign as the track’s champion jockey. Here are the three leaders entering Monday afternoon:
1—Wilfredo Rohena – 107 wins in 417 starts…mounts have earned $1,282,916
2—John R. Davila Jr. – 102 wins in 293 starts…mounts have earned $1,146,776
3—Jaime Rodriguez – 95 wins in 421 starts…mounts have earned $1,141,063.