BOB MATTHEWS SPORTS TALK
Weeknights 6:00PM - 8:00PM
on WHAM 1180
Email Bob here.
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.
DID CHAN LEARN A LESSON IN A WIN OVER A LOUSY TEAM?
COULD JETS AND BILLS HAVE SOMETHING TO PLAY FOR DEC. 30?
IS IT TIME TO TOUT ROOKIE ANDREW LUCK FOR MVP?
THREE-POINTERS (EXCEPT FROM SOUTHERLAND) COULD BE AN ORANGE CONCERN
NAVY LIKELY TO SINK ARMY AGAIN
The most encouraging thing about Buffalo’s 34-18 home victory over Jacksonville is the possibility of coach Chan Gailey recognizing that running the ball 46 times and passing the ball 17 times is a far more reasonable ratio than he had been using considering the talent he has to work with: very good running backs and offensive line, and below-average quarterback and wide receivers..
It also was good to see Gailey let his kicker attempt a 50-yard field goal in miserable weather after failing to let him try from a similar distance – indoors – last week in the costly 20-13 loss to Indianapolis. Rian Lindell came through when given the opportunity.
The defensive unit is playing much better lately and Mario Williams is looking like he might worth half of what he is being paid (that’s not his fault). He might yet be the star to build a solid defense around.
The Bills demonstrated how much better than they are than one of the NFL’s bottom-feeders. Too bad so many loyal fans in western New York didn’t get to see it because of the obnoxious blackout. The team’s long-suffering fans were punished because the team’s disappointing performance again this season didn’t inspire enough of them to shell out major cash game for tickets in a struggling economy in December…My suggestion: No blackouts for teams with losing records entering Week 12. Or maybe waive blackouts for teams that haven’t made the playoffs in 12 years.
--The Bills still have a faint heartbeat for a playoff berth. One of the teams they’re battling is the New York Jets. Both teams are 5-7 with relatively soft remaining schedules:
BILLS – St. Louis (5-6-1) at home…Seattle at Toronto (6-6)…at Miami (5-7)…Jets at home (5-7)
JETS – at Jacksonville (2-10)…at Tennessee (4-8)…San Diego (4-8) at home…at Buffalo (5-7).
The Jets have the head-to-head tiebreaker by virtue of Week 1’s 48-28 home romp over the Bills.
New England, Baltimore, Houston and Denver appear likely to win the AFC’s four divisions. Indianapolis (8-4) looks good for one of the AFC’s two wild-card playoff berths. That leaves Cincinnati (7-5) and Pittsburgh (7-5) with a reasonable chance for the other wild-card berth, with Buffalo (5-7), the Jets (5-7) and Miami (5-7)hoping for a miracle.
Indianapolis QB Andrew Luck – He passed for 391 yards and 4 TDs and engineered the game-winning drive to finish a 35-33 upset victory Sunday at Detroit. He hit Donnie Avery with a 14-yard TD with no time left. Luck is the frontrunner for NFL Rookie of the Year over Washington QB Robert Griffin III. Is it time to throw him into the MVP mix? The Colts were 2-14 last season to “earn” the No. 1 overall pick and now are 8-4 with him.
Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson – He had 21 carries for 210 yards and 1 TD in a 23-14 road loss to Green Bay. He leads the NFL in rushing (1,446 yards) and has topped 100 yards rushing in his last 6 games (153, 123, 182, 171, 108, 210).
Pittsburgh QB Charlie Batch – The 37-year-old veteran rescued the Steelers in a huge game with Ben Roethlisberger sidelined by injury. He was 25x36 for 276 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT in a 23-20 road victory over Baltimore.
Kansas City QB Brady Quinn – Yes, this is the correct category. He was 19x23 for 201 yards with 2 TD passes and 0 INTs, with a 132.1 passer rating, in a 27-21 home win over Carolina.
Seattle QB Russell Wilson – The rookie third-round draft pick (No. 75 overall) out of Wisconsin was 23x37 for 293 yards, with 2 TD passes, 0 INTS and a 104.9 passer rating, and ran 9 times for 71 yards in a 23-17 overtime win at Chicago.
St. Louis kicker Greg Zuerlein – He tied the game against visiting San Francisco 13-13 with a 53-yard field goal at the] end of regulation and won it with a 54-yard FG with 26 seconds left in overtime.
Houston LB Whitney Mercilus – The rookie recovered a fumble and had 2 sacks in a 24-10 road win over Tennessee.
Dallas QB Tony Romo – He was 22x27 for 303 yards, with 3 TD passes and o INTs, in a 38-33 home win over Philadelphia. He broke Troy Aikman’s franchise record with his 166th TD pass.
Arizona QB Ryan Lindley – The latest entry in the Cardinals QB Follies was 10x31 for 72 yards (2.3 yards per attempt) with 0 TD passes, 1 INT and a 28.0 passer rating in Sunday’s 7-6 road loss to the New York Jets. He didn’t get much help from running back Beanie Wells: 15 carries for 22 yards.
New York Jets QB Mark Sanchez – It could be all over for him with the Jets. He threw an INT on his first throw Sunday and the home fans were chanting “Mc-El-Roy” for third-string QB Greg McElroy for nearly three quarters. Sanchez was 10x21 for 97 yards, with 0 TD passes, 3 INTs and 3 sacks before being benched in favor of McElroy, who engineered his team’s only TD in a 7-6 victory.
Tennessee QB Jake Locker – He threw 3 INTs and was sacked 6 times in a 24-10 home loss to Houston.
San Diego QB Philip Rivers – Coach Norv Turner isn’t the only problem with the Chargers. Mistake-prone Rivers had two giveaways in the final 3:54 of a 20-13 home loss to Denver.
New Orleans QB Drew Brees – The future Pro Football Hall of Famer threw a career-high 5 INTs and had his NFL-record streak of 54 consecutive games with a TD pass end in a 23-13 loss at Atlanta last Thursday night.
Week 13 New, Views and Notes:
What a season for rookie quarterbacks. Andrew Luck (Indianapolis), Brandon Weeden (Cleveland) and Russell Wilson (Seattle) all were terrific in victories Sunday. Ryan Tannehill (Miami) lost. Robert Griffin III (Washington) plays Monday night. The five season-long rookie starters have combined for 32 victories this season – the most by rookie QBs since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger…According to Adam Schefter (ESPN.com), since the draft era began in 1967, all rookie QBs combined won only 55 games through the start of this season.
Seattle improved to 2-5 on the road with Sunday’s 27-21 win at Carolina. The Seahawks are 5-0 at home…Detroit is 9-15 since starting 5-0 in 2011…Sunday’s 35-33 home loss to Indianapolis was Detroit’s 7th loss by 8 points or fewer this season…Six of Atlanta’s 11 games were decided by 7 points or fewer…Brandon Marshall (Chicago) has 91 catches. The team record is 100 by Marty Booker in 2001…Green Bay has won 4 straight over Minnesota by a combined 132-51. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is 96x126 with 12 TD passes and 1 INT in those games….Arizona is 0-8 since starting this season 4-0…
St. Louis is 4-0-1 vs. NFC West rivals this season...Will native son Tim Tebow start at QB for the Jets at Jacksonville this Sunday? He could be auditioning for a trade. Jaguars owner Shad Kahn reportedly still wants Tebow – as a player and as a drawing card. A rare capacity crowd is expected for his visit Sunday.
Green Bay’s James Starks scored the team’s first rushing TD since Oct. 7…The Packers are 24-2 in their last 26 regular-season home games.San Francisco has only three offensive TDs in Colin Kaepernick’s last two starts…Aldon Smith (San Francisco) has 31 ½ sacks in his first two seasons, breaking Reggie White’s NFL-record 31 …Cam Newton (Carolina) became the first quarterback to run for 500+ yards in each of his first two NFL seasons…After Sunday’s 23-17 overtime home loss to Seattle, Chicago is 64-11 under coach Lovie Smith when leading entering the fourth quarter…
Heisman Trophy favorite Johnny Manziel watched the Dallas victory over Philadelphia from a suite at Cowboys Stadium, where his Texas A&M team will play Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl Jan. 4..Assuming Philadelphia coach Andy Reid will be fired after this season, he’ll wind up 17-11 against Dallas. That’s the most wins by a coach against the Cowboys (Joe Gibbs had 15).
Pittsburgh ended Baltimore’s 15-game home winning streak…San Diego is 1-7 in the last 8 games after a 20-13 home loss to Cincinnati…The loss dropped Norv Turner’s December record to 18-4 as coach of the Chargers…
San Diego is 21-23 since its last playoff appearance following the 2009 season…San Diego was blacked out for the 8th time in the last 16 home games…New England has won 20 straight games the second half of the season. The longest such streak since the 1970 merger…New England clinched its 12th straight winning season… That’s almost as amazing as Buffalo’s 12-season non-playoffs streak… Patriots are 15-33 all-time in Miami after Sunday’s 23-16 win…Indianapolis is 7-1 in games decided by 8 points or fewer…Andrew Luck (Indianapolis) is closing fast on the NFL record for passing yards by a rookie: Cam Newton 4,051 in 2011; Peyton Manning 3,739 in 1998; Luck 3,596 yards with 4 games to go.
Cleveland beat Oakland 20-17 for its first road win since Week 2 of the 2011 season…The Raiders have five straight losses for the first time since 2006 and dropped out of playoff contention for the 10th straight season…The Jets won with 7 points or fewer (7-6 over Arizona) for the first time since 2003 (beat Steelers 6-0)…Kansas City scored a TD on its opening drive for the first time in 29 games. It was the NFL’s longest current drought…
Denver’s Peyton Manning had 3 TD passes in a 31-23 home win over Tampa Bay. It was his 71st game with at least 3 TD passes. The NFL record is 72 by Brett Favre. Manning’s 29th TD pass of the season topped the team record (28) set by John Elway and Jake Plummer.
NFL Week 13 Stat Pack (entering Monday night’s New York Giants at Washington game):
Home teams are 8-7 straight up (108-82-1 this season) and 4-9-2 against the Las Vegas point spread (80-105-6 this season)
Las Vegas favorites are 10-5 straight up (123-67-1 this season) and 5-8-2 against the spread (82-103-6 this season)
The first teams to score are 10-5 (113-77-1 this season)
Teams leading after the first quarter are 8-5 (101-52-1 this season)
Teams leading at halftime are 7-8 (130-47-1)
Teams leading entering the fourth quarter are 8-7 (143-35 this season)
Teams with the most rushing yards are 9-6 (128-62-1 this season)
Teams with the most passing yards are 10-5 (110-79-1 this season)
Teams winning the turnover battle are 5-6 (114-34-1 this season)
Teams with fewest yards penalized are 9-5 (103-81-1 this season)
Teams leading in time of possession are 12-3 (117-73-1 this season)
Teams with the better record entering the game are 9-4 (85-49-1 this season)
The AFC was 4-0 versus the NFC Week 14 to cut the NFC’s advantage in this season’s interconference series to 27-23 (+4)
There have been 634 points in 15 games (average 42.3 points per game).
Bob’s NFL Power Rankings: 1-Houston…2-Atlanta…3-New England…4-San Francisco…5-Denver…6-Baltimore…7-New York Giants…8-Green Bay…9-Chicago…10-Pittsburgh…11-Indianapolis…12-Cincinnati…13-Seattle…14—Tampa Bay…15-Dallas…16-Minnesota…17-Washington…18-St. Louis…19-New Orleans…20-Buffalo…21-Miami…22-New York Jets…23-Cleveland…24-Detroit…25-San Diego…26-Tennessee…27-Arizona…28-Carolina…29—Philadelphia…30-Oakland…31-Kansas City…32-Jacksonville.
Week 13’s Top Performers:
300-yard passers – Andrew Luck (Indianapolis) 391 yards (won)…Carson Palmer (Oakland) 351 (lost)…Drew Brees (New Orleans) 341 (lost)…Matthew Stafford (Detroit) 313 (lost)…Jake Locker (Tennessee) 309 (lost)…Brandon Weeden (Cleveland) 304 (won)…Tony Romo (Dallas) 303 (won).
100-yard rushers – Adrian Peterson (Minnesota) 210 yards (won)…Bryce Brown (Philadelphia) 169 (lost)…Jamaal Charles (Kansas City) 127 (won)…BenJarvus Green-Ellis (Cincinnat) 118 (won)…Fred Jackson (Buffalo) 109 (won)…Shonn Greene (New York Jets) 104 (won).
100-yard receivers – Calvin Johnson (Detroit) 171 yards (lost)…Brandon Marshall (Chicago) 165 (lost)…Brandon Myers (Oakland) 130 (lost)…Lance Moore (New Orleans) 123 (lost)…Steve Smith (Carolina) 120 (lost)…Josh Gordon (Cleveland) 116 (won)…ason Witten (Dallas) 108 (won)…Wes Welker (New England) 103 (won)…Denario Alexander (San Diego) 102 (lost)…Michael Crabtree (San Francisco) 101 (lost)…T.Y. Hilton (Indianapolis) 100 (won).
Week 14’s Key Games include:
Denver at Oakland (Thursday night) – Peyton Manning gets to pad his stats against the Raiders (why are they on in prime time?).
Tennessee at Indianapolis – Good Luck to the Titans as the Cinderella Colts zero in on an improbable playoff berth.
San Diego at Pittsburgh – Ben Roethlisberger to the rescue for the Steelers?
Baltimore at Washington – The Ravens get to chase Robert Griffin III all over the field.
New Orleans at New York Giants – Looking for Drew Brees to rebound after 5-INT game vs. Atlanta.
Detroit at Green Bay – If the weather cooperates, Stafford vs. Rodgers pass-a-thon should be fun.
Houston at New England (Monday Night Football) – Could be an AFL playoff preview.
Bob’s Week 14 NFL early line: (Thursday night) Denver at Oakland (+3)…(Sunday)St. Louis at Buffalo (-3)…Dallas at Cincinnati (-4)…Atlanta at Carolina (+6)…Kansas City at Cleveland (-4)…New York Jets (-3) at Jacksonville…Tennessee at Indianapolis (-5)…Chicago at Minnesota (+2)…San Diego at Pittsburgh (-4)…Philadelphia at Tampa Bay (-8)…Baltimore at Washington (+2)…Miami at San Francisco (-11)…Arizona at Seattle (-8)…New Orleans at New York Giants (-4)…Detroit at Green Bay (-6)…(Monday night) Houston at New England (-3).
ORANGE LOKING GREAT ON STATS SHEET
Syracuse University’s basketball team is 5-0 entering Monday night’s sixth victory of the season at home against Eastern Michigan (7 p.m., on WHAM 1180).
Here’s how SU measures up against the competition so far this season:
Records – SU 5-0…opponents 0-5
Points per game – SU 80.2…OPP 58.4
Average scoring margin – SU +21.8
Field goals per game – SU 29.0…OPP 19.4
3-point field goal percentage – SU .311 (28x90)…OPP .267 (28x105)
Free-throw percentage -- .680 (83x122)…OPP .648 (70x108)
Rebounds/per game – 211/42.2…OPP 170 (34.0)
Assists /per game -- SU 78/15.6)…OPP 61/12.2)
Turnovers/per game – SU 74 (14.8)…OPP 93 (18.6)
Steals/per game – SU 65 (13.0)…OPP 48 (9.6)
Blocks/per game – SU 65 (13.0)…OPP 11 (2.2)
Average attendance home – 18,746 (3 games)
Average attendance road/neutral – 11,745 (2 games).
Brandon Triche – 32.0 minutes per game…15.6 points per game….FG percentage.452 (28x62)…3-point FG percentage .222 (4x18)…Free-throw percentage .783 (18x23)…3.4 rebounds per game…3.0 assists per game…16 turnovers
Michael Carter-Williams – 31.6 minutes per game…11.6 points per game…FG percentage .431 (22x51)…3-point FG percentage .,091 (1X11)…Free-throw percentage .765 (13x17)…6.4 rebounds per game…9.2 assists per game…17 turnovers
C.J. Fair – 30.2 minutes per game…11.6 points per game…FG percentage .422 (19x45)…3-point field-goal percentage (.286; 2x7)…Free-throw percentage .750; 18x24)…5.6 rebounds per game…0.8 assists per game…11 turnovers
Rakeem Christmas – 20.4 minutes per game…6.2 points per game…FG percentage .591 (13x22)…3-point field-goal percentage .000 (0x0)…5.2 rebounds per game…0.2 assists per game…6 turnovers
DaJuan Coleman – 14.8 minutes per game…5.4 points per game…FG percentage .435 (10x23)…3-point field-goal percentage .000 (0x0)…Free-throw percentage .438; (7x16)…5.4 rebounds per game…0.2 assists per game…8 turnovers
James Southerland – 26.4 minutes per game…19.2 points per game…FG percentage .618 (34x55)…3-point field-goal percentage .545 (18x33)…Free-throw percentage .769 (10x13)…4.4 rebounds per game…0.6 assists per game…7 turnovers.
Baye Moussa Keita – 17.8 minutes per game…5.0 points per game…FG percentage .769 (10x13)…3-point field-goal percentage .000 (0x0)…Free-throw percentage .500 (5x10)…5.0 rebounds per game…0.0 assists per game…4 turnovers
Trevor Cooney – 13.2 minutes per game…3.0 points per game…FG percentage .190 (4x21)…3-point field-goal percentage .125v (2x16)…Free-throw percentage .714 (5x7)…0.6 rebounds per game…1.2 assists per game…1 turnover
Jerami Grant – 8.8 minutes per game…2.0 points per game…FG percentage .444 (4x9)…3-point field-goal percentage .500 (1x2)…Free-throw percentage .333 (1x3)…1.2 rebounds per game…0.1 assists per game…0 turnovers.
Highlights and lowlights – 3-point shooting has to be a concern. Southerland has been terrific from long range (18x33; .545), but the rest of the team is a combined 10x57 (.175)…Sharp-shotter Trevor Cooney has been way off (including 2x16 from 3-point range). Coach Jim Boeheim is giving him quality minutes and Cooney figures to come around…Christmas, Coleman, and Keita all have impressive rebounding averages considering their minutes played.
Upcoming schedule: Host Eastern Michigan Monday 7 p.m. (ESNU)…host Long Beach State Thursday 8 p.m. (ESPN2)…host Monmouth Saturday 7 p.m. (Time Warner).
THE STANGE 2012 SEASON OF C. J. SPILLER
One of the memorable things about the somewhat unusual 2012 season of the Buffalo Bills will be the work load of running back C.J. Spiller. Here’s the game-by-game breakdown through 12 games:
Game 1 – 14 carries for 169 yards + 2 catches for 25 yards…16 touches for 194 yards
Game 2 – 15 carries for 123 yards + 3 catches for 47 yards…18 touches for 170 yards
Game 3 – 4 carries for 16 yards + 2 catches for 42 yards…6 touches for 58 yards (injured shoulder)
Game 4 – 8 carries for 33 yards + 2 catches for 5 yards…10 touches for 38 yards
Game 5 – 7 carries for 24 yards + 0 catches for 0 yards…7 touches for 24 yards
Game 6 – 12 carries for 88 yards + 4 catches for 22 yards…16 touches for 110 yards
Game 7 – 12 carries for 70 yards + 6 catches for 32 yards…18 catches for 102 yards
Game 8 – 6 carries for 39 yards + 5 catches for 63 yards…11 touches for 102 yards
Game 9 – 9 carries for 70 yards + 4 catches for 61 yards…13 touches for 131 yards
Game 10 – 22 carries for 91 yards + 3 catches for 39 yards…25 touches for 120 yards
Game 11 – 14 carries for 107 yards + 1 catch for -4 yards…15 touches for 103 yards
Game 12 – 14 carries for 77 yards + 1 catch for 7 yards…15 touches for 84 yards.
IS THIS THE YEAR ARMY BEATS NAVY? PROBABLY NOT
The annual Army-Navy showdown – the last regular-season college football game of the season -- will be Saturday, 3 p.m., at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. It will be played after the Heisman Trophy voting deadline.
That’s appropriate because Army and Navy haven’t had any Heisman candidates in a loooong time. The two schools have genuine STUDENT-athletes who will be moving on to more important jobs than playing football.
Navy leads the series 56-49-7 and has dominated since Army last won in 2001. Navy has won the last 10 meetings by a combined 237 points (including 27-21 last year; the previous 9 Navy wins were by 46, 28, 29, 19, 12, 35, 34, 14 and 14 points). The Midshipmen are early 7-point favorites this time.
Can Army end its losing streak against Navy on Saturday? Probably not. The Cadets sure could use Don Holleder for this game.
Army does one thing well. The Cadets rank No. 1 among the 120 FBS teams (Football Championship Subdivision) in rushing (369.82 yards per game). Most of the other numbers are ugly.
Here’ s how Army and Navy measure up (ranking among the 120 major-college teams in parentheses):
Records – Army 2-9…Navy 7-4 (6-1 after a 1-3 start)
Total offense – Army 39th (437.91 yards per game)…Navy 69th (394.09)
Rushing offense – Army 1st (369.82)…Navy 6th (285.45)
Passing offense – Army 120th (68.09)…Navy 117th (108.64)…this will not be a passing duel.
Scoring offense – Army 83rd (25.27)…Navy 82nd (25.45)
Total defense – Army 90th (439.15)…Navy 51st (386.27)
Scoring defense – Army 108th (37.0)…Navy 38th (23.55).
Interesting, they had only one common opponent. Army upset visiting Air Force 41-21 (the highlight of Army’s season) and Navy beat host Air Force 28-21 in overtime.
Navy opened the season with a 50-10 loss to Norte Dame in Dublin, Ireland.
Wide receivers Andre Reed, Cris Carter and Tim Brown again are among the (27) semifinalists for the 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame, That means they’ll split votes again and probably all fail to be elected again. The trio would have a better chance to be selected if one or two of them were temporarily passed over as semifinalists.
This is the final week for the 2012 live racing seasons at Finger Lakes (Monday through Friday, 12:15 post time) and Batavia Downs (Friday and Saturday, 6:25 p.m.).
The father-son training act of Chris Englehart and Jeremiah Englehart are on fire at Finger Lakes. Chris leads trainers with 132 wins this season and Jeremiah is second with 92. They’ve combined for $2.5 million in earnings…The race for leading jockey remains tight: Wilfredo Rohena 132 wins and John R. Davila Jr. 126 wins.
Most college football talent gurus say the deepest positions for the 2013 NFL draft are defensive ends and tackles. It is considered a below-average draft for quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers.
Here are some of the winning bids for interesting items at the SCP Auctions’ November auction which concluded Saturday: in Laguna Niguel, Calif.: Ozzie Smith’s 13 Gold Glove Awards (1980-1992) sold for $519,203…the only known Babe Ruth 1922 Yankees team sweater $250,642…Oscar Robertson’s 1963-64 NBA MVP award $177,632…Paul Hornung’s Heisman Trophy $173,102…Muhammad Ali fight-worn gloves vs. Sonny Liston and Joe Frazier $385,848 each…Oscar Robertson’s 1960 Olympic gold-medal winning Team USA game jersey $121,324…Lou Gehrig 1938-39 game-used bat $75,205…Sam Jones’ 1983 National Basketball Hall of Fame induction ring $66,734,