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.
HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN FOR BILLS...MAYBE HAPPY YEARS
MARIO WILLIAMS A “HERO” AT LAST
BRONCOS, SEAHWAWKS 1-2 IN BOB’S NFL RANKINGS
TIGHT GAMES TREND CONTINUES IN NFL
BASEBALL: HOT AND COLD
BEST AND WORST OF NFL WEEK 2
Most surprising start – By the 2-0 Kansas City Chiefs. They were 2-14 last season...They next face two big challenges: at Philadelphia in new coach Andy Reid’s homecoming and home against the desperate New York Giants Sept. 29.
(Photo Courtesy: thenewsportsguru.com)
Happiest fans – Probably in Buffalo. The fans pouring out of the stadium late in the game when the Bills were trailing 23-17 must have forgotten that rookie EJ Manuel is the new quarterback. Ryan Fitzpatrick’s specialty was not pulling out victories in the fourth quarter. Manuel stayed cool in the game-winning 80-yard TD drive (with no timeouts) for a 24-23 victory over Carolina.
(Photo Courtesy: usatoday30.usatoday.com)
Best streak-breaker – Green Bay running back James Starks (20 carries for 132 yards), who became the first Packer to run for at least 100 yards in a game since Oct. 10, 2010 (Brandon Graham, 115 yards), a span of 44 regular season games.
Most pitiful team – The Jacksonville Jaguars. 0-2 with definite 0-16 potential. What is the most likely upset win on the schedule? Hmmm. That’s a tough one. At Cleveland Dec. 1 and maybe home against Buffalo Dec. 15?...An Orlando TV station apologized Sunday for having to carry the Jags at Oakland game instead of Denver at the New York Giants. Said the on-air message: “We apologize for any inconvenience.”.... They’re a cinch to miss the postseason for the 12th time in the last 14 years.
Strongest message – By Seattle’s defense to San Francisco’s offense. No contest. Seattle 29, 49ers 3 and it wasn’t that close. Seattle’s incredibly loud crowd was only a slight factor.
Least-secure starting quarterback – Tampa Bay’s Josh Freeman, who is denying a report that he hopes to be moved before the NFL’s Oct. 29 trade deadline. One problem is that his trade value is very low, considering his declining production and suspect attitude.
Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers – He was 34x42 for 480 yards, with 4 TD passes, 0 INTs and a 146.0 passer rating in a 38-20 home victory Sunday over Washington.
Buffalo DE/LB Mario Williams – He’s paid like a superstar. He played like one Sunday. He had a ream-record 4.5 sacks in a 24-23 home victory over Carolina.
Chicago RB Matt Forte – He’s high on my list of underrated great NFL players. He’s not flashy but he’s versatile, durable and productive. He had 90 yards on 19 rushes and 71 yards on 11 catches in a 31-30 home win over Minnesota.
San Diego QB Philip Rivers – He at least temporarily shut up critics who say he’s on the decline (I raise my hand). He was 36x47 for 419 yards, with 3 TD passes and 0 INTs, in a 33-30 upset road win over Philadelphia.
Atlanta WR Julio Jones – He caught 11 passes for 182 yards (16.5 yards per catch) and 1 TD in a 31-24 home win over St. Louis.
Kansas City QB Alex Smith – He was 21x36 for 223, with 2 TD passes and 0 INTs, and led the Chiefs in rushing (8x57) in a 17-16 home victory over Dallas.
Miami QB Ryan Tannehill – He was 22x34 for 319 yards, with 1 TD and 0 INTs, in a 24-20 victory at Indianapolis.
Washington’s defensive unit – The Redskins are 0-2 and have allowed 1,023 yards.
Houston kicker Randy Bullock – He was 0x3 on field goals in a 30-24 overtime victory and is 1X5 this season. As of Sunday night, he still had a job.
San Francisco RB Frank Gore and WR Anquan Boldin – They were nearly invisible in a 29-3 road loss to Seattle. Gore had 9 carries for 16 yards and Boldin caught 1 pass for 7 yards...If QB Colin Kaepernic k had carried 25 times, the 49ers might have had a chance. And he might have been seriously injured.
BOB’S NFL RANKINGS
1-Broncos...Offense will only get better
2—Seahawks...Dominated San Francisco
3—Saints...Survived scare at Tampa Bay
4—Texans...Look like best team in Texas again
5—Bears...Could be underrated
6—Chiefs...Match last season’s total wins (2)
7—Dolp-hins...Tannehill is the key
8—Patriots...Will get healthier
9—49ers...Figure to bounce back
10—Packers...Offense clicked Sunday
11—Falcons ...Tough team to gauge
12—Eagles...Disappointing home loss to San Diego
13—Cowboys...No excuses for loss at Kansas City
14—Ravens...Can’t play Cleveland every week
15—Bills...Reason for optimism
17—Colts...Surprising home loss to Miami
18—Titans...Tough OT loss to Houston
19—Chargers...Rebounded nicely from tough loss
20—Rams...Decent try in loss at Atlanta
21—Bengals...Likely to boost rating Monday night
22—Cardinals...Big home win over Detroit
23—Raiders...A win is a win, even over Jags
24—Steelers...Could be a long season
25...Giants...They’ve dug out of 0-2 holes before
26—Buccaneers...Played New Orleans tough
27—Panthers...Wilted in final seconds in Buffalo
28—Vikings...Do you think they can win with Ponder?
29—Jets...Couldn’t beat battered Patriots
30—Browns...Wasting a decent defense
31—Redskins...RGIII not close to 100 percent
32—Jaguars...Worst NFL team by far.
TOP PERFORMERS WEEK 2
Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay) 480 (won)
Michael Vick (Philadelphia) 428
Philip Rivers (San Diego) 419 (won)
Matt Ryan (Atlanta) 374 (won)
Eli Manning (NY Giants) 362 (lost)
Sam Bradford (St. Louis) 352 (lost)
Drew Brees (New Orleans) 322 (won)
Andrew Luck (Indianapolis) 321 (lost)
Robert Griffin III (Washington) 320 (lost)
Ryan Tannehill (Miami) 319 (won)
Peyton Manning (Denver) 307 (won).
DeSean Jackson (Philadelphia) 193 (lost)
Jimmy Graham (New Orleans) 179 (won)
Julio Jones (Atlanta) 178 (won)
James Jones (Green Bay) – 178 (won)
Pierre Garson (Washington) 143 (lost)
Dez Bryant (Dallas) 124 (lost)
Randall Cobb (Green Bay) 128 (won)
Antonio Gates (San Diego) 124 (won)
T.Y. Hilton (Indianapolis) 124 (lost)
Victor Cruz (NY Giants) 118 (lost)
DeAndre Hopkins (Houston) 117 (won)
Calvin Johnson (Detroit) 116 (lost)
Mike Wallace (Miami) 115 (won)
LeSean McCoy (Philadelphia) 114
Brando0n Marshall (Chicago) 113
Stevie Johnson (Buffalo) 111 (won)
Charles Clay (Miami) 109 (won)
Chris Givens (St. Louis) 105 (loss)
Malcolm Floyd (San Diego) 102 (won).
Doug Martin (Tampa Bay) 144 (lost)
James Starks (Green Bay) 132 (won)
Darren McFadden (Oakland) 129 (won)
Alfred Morris (Washington) 107 (lost)
C.J. Spiller (Buffalo) 103 (won)
Adrian Peterson (Minnesota) 100.
NFL STAT PACK
Home teams Thursday and Sunday were 11-4 outright (20-11 this season) and 7-7-1 against the Las Vegas point spread (15-14-2 this season)
Las Vegas favorites were 11-4 straight up (24-7 this season) and 5-9-1 against the spread (18-12-1 this season)
Teams winning the turnover battle were 5-6 (16-7 this season)
Teams leading in time of possession were 10-5 (23-8 this season)
Teams scoring first were 12-3 (19-12 this season)
Teams leading after the first quarter were 7-3 (12-8 this season)
Teams leading at halftime were 9-5 (16-12 this season)
Teams leading after three quarters were 11-1 (20-6 this season)
Teams with the better record entering the game were 3-3 (3-3 this season)
Six of 15 games were decided by 3 points or fewer (11 of 31 games this season)
10 of 15 games were decided by 7 points or fewer (22 of 31 games this season)
The AFC was 4-0 versus the NFC Sunday and leads this season’s interconference series 5-1.
There were 658 points in 15 games (43.8-point average).
STRICTLY OPINION ON THE NFL
The biggest problem for the Washington Redskins isn’t their defense or the growing controversy regarding the team’s nickname. It is the condition of QB Robert Griffin III’s rebuilt knee. For the second game in a row, his legs were not a dangerous weapon. He had only 4 carries for 1 net yard in a 38-20 loss in Green Bay.
When you see the Manning brothers play on the same field, it is impossible to favorably compare Eli to older brother Peyton. Peyton is one-eighth of the way to his fifth NFL Most Valuable Player award.
New England’s 13-10 victory over the New York Jets last Thursday night was a prime-time yawner. I hope it will be the worst prime-time game this season. I’m crossing my fingers that Buffalo at Cleveland on Thursday, Oct. 3, will be an improvement.
I don’t know why so many “experts” and fans put down Texas A&M’s Heisman Trophy-winning QB Johnny Manziel as an NFL prospect. Sure, he’s not the prototype 6-foot-5 QB with a cannon arm, but he more than makes up for that with elusiveness, accuracy and savvy. No one is touting him as a potential first-round NFL draft pick, but I’ve many less-talented QBs selected in the first round – with less hope of being successful in the NFL.
NFL STATS AND FACTS
Baltimore won for the 11th straight time against Cleveland. It is the NFL’s longest active streak by one team against another team.
The Indianapolis Colts, by far the least-penalized team in the NFL last season, lost 24-20 at home Sunday to Miami. The Dolphins had no penalties.
Drew Brees (New Orleans) became the fourth active quarterback to have at least 25 50-yard TD passes: Peyton Manning (40), Tony Romo (29), Tom Brady (27) and Brees (25).
Ominous note for fans of the Browns, Buccaneers, Giants, Jaguars, Panthers, Redskins and Vikings: Only 22 teams since 1990 started 0-2 and rallied to make the playoffs...Mike Wallace (Miami) had his 30th career TD catch of at least 10 yards, most in the NFL since 2009.
Green Bay had a 400-yard passer and a 100-yard rusher for the first time in team...The Packers extended their team record to 17 straight home games with at least 22 points scored.
Minnesota for the first time in team history had a kick return for a TD and a fumble return for a TD in the same game.
In Arizona’s last 14 games, it is 2-0 against Detroit and 0-12 vs. the rest of the league.
Denver became to seventh team of the Super Bowl era to score at least 40 points in each of the first two games of a season. The Broncos tied a franchise record with its seventh straight road victory.
Here were colleges that supplied the most players to NFL Week 1 rosters this season: Southern California (40), LSU (39), Miami (38), Georgia (36), Texas (31), Florida State (31), Tennessee (30), California (30), Alabama (30), Oregon (27), Ohio State (27), Florida (26), Notre Dame (24), Wisconsin (24), Oklahoma (23), Penn State (23), South Carolina (23).
According to Elias Sports Bureau, Houston is the first team since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to win each of its first two games on the final play of the game.
Former Chicago Bears star RB Rick Casares died Friday. He was 82. He’s still third on the team’s career rushing list.
NFL WEEK 3’S KEY GAMES
Green Bay at Cincinnati –The Bengals believe they’re a legit Super Bowl threat. This game will be a good indicator.
Detroit at Washington – The explosive Lions are exactly what the defensively-challenged Redskins did not need to see this week.
New York Giants at Carolina – Two disappointing teams can’t afford to start 0-3.
Houston at Baltimore – Tough test for the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens.
Buffalo at the New York Jets – A loss to the woeful Jets would hurt as much as Sunday’s clutch win over Carolina helped.
Indianapolis at San Francisco – The Colts probably need more than Luck to beat the 49ers.
NFL WEEK 3’S STINKO GAME
Jacksonville at Seattle – On any given NFL Sunday, anything can happy...well, almost anything.
ROCHESTER KNIGHTHAWKS NOTEBOOK
The National Lacrosse League entry draft is Monday night in Toronto. The two-time defending NLL champion Knighthawks have only four picks in the 6-round, 55-player draft: No. 27, No. 37, No. 46 and No. 55. ... The Minnesota Swarm figure to cash in big, with picks No. 1, No. 2, No. 5 and No.7 in the first round (plus Nos. 21, 23, 29 and 39).
Recent NLL trades sent veteran forward Luke Wiles from Buffalo to Philadelphia led the Bandits with 39 goals in 2012)...Forward Drew Westervelt (30 goals in four of the last five seasons) went from Philadelphia to Colorado...Former Hobart star goaltender and No. 6 overall pick in the 2011 entry draft from Minnesota to Philadelphia for first-round picks in 2015 and 2017.
Popular former goaltender Pat O’Toole will be inducted into the NLL Hall of Fame Dec. 7, at Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial prior to the preseason game against the Minnesota Swarm. O’Toole is Rochester’s franchise leader in wins (102) and saves (5,756). His over5all NLL record was 115-56. He also had an NLL goaltender-record 136 assists. He currently is Rochester’s goaltending choice. He was the first goalie inducted into the Knighthawks’ Hall of Fame.
The Six Nations Chiefs won the Mann Cup, Canada summer indoor lacrosse championship, with an 8-5 victory Saturday night over the host Victoria (BC) Shamrocks. The Chiefs, who won the Mann Cup in 1994, 1995 and 1996 but had come up empty since, won the series 4-2. All six games were in Victoria. All six games drew 3,000-plus capacity crowds...Six Knighthawks and three Shamrocks participated. Rochester star Cody Jamieson earned the Mike Kelly Memorial Trophy as MVP of the series. He led all scorers with 29 points (13 goals + 16 assists). After the victory Friday night, Jamieson told a reporter, “They (the Shamrocks) were a tough team and we beat the best goalie in the world (Knighthawks teammate Matt Vinc).
The Face of Baseball, according to a survey by Turnkney Intelligence, is Alex Rodriguez (22 percent), followed by Derek Jeter (12 percent), Miguel Cabrera (9 percent) and Mike Trout (3 percent)...The bad news for A-Rod: Respondents were asked, “Do you believe this player represents MLB in a positive, negative or neutral manner?”: Negative 78 percent, Neutral 14 percent, Positive 8 percent.
(Photo Courtesy: espn.go.com)
--Baseball America’s Minor League All-Star Team was released last week. Four of the nine position players are property of the Minnesota Twins and all could be Rochester Red Wings for at least a portion of next season: catcher Josmil Pinto, first baseman Chris Colabello, third baseman Miguel Sano, center fielder Byron Buxton. Happy days will be here again Frontier Field.
. --Major League Baseball will open the 2014 regular season in Sydney, Australia, March 22: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Arizona Diamondbacks in a two-game series. Opening seasons in other countries is another thing commissioner Bud Selig should not be proud of.
--If the Baltimore Orioles fail to make the postseason, their brutal record in one-run games (16-28) will be the main reason. The Orioles set an all-time MLB record with a 29-9 record in one-run games last season.
--The Yankees are the first team in MLB history to have nine players on its roster at some point of a season with at least 200 HRs. Mark Reynolds hit his 200th HR last Thursday night... Boston won the season series 13-5 ver the Yankees. It was the first time a team beat the Yankees 15 times in a season since Baltimore was 13-5 in 1976 (Elias Sports Bureau).
--Oakland is 13-3 in its last 16 games. AL West rival Texas is 2-11 in September to fall 6 ½ games behind Oakland...Mike Trout (Angels) is the first MLB player ever to have 70 extra-base hits, 30 stolen bases and 100 walks in a season...Houston (51-98) needs 2 more losses to become the first MLB team to post there consecutive three-digit loss season since Kansas City in 2004-05-06.
The White Sox are 58-91 and 33 games below .500 for the first time since 1976. They’ve lost 12 straight games to Cleveland...Hunter Spence (San Francisco) has 19 RBI in his last 6 games. That’s the most over that span by a MLB player since the RBI became an official stat unh 1920 (Elias Sports Bureau)...Miami is 5-13 in extra innings...Is there a more disappointing player this season than B.J. Upton?: .190 batting average (including his current 1x21 slump); 143 strikeouts in 378 official at-bats.
Denard Span (Washington) has a 27-game hitting streak, tied with fellow former Red Wing Michael Cuddyer for longest in the National League this season...Washington is 8-1 in its last 9 games and 25-10 in its last 35 games (probably too little, too late)...Washington is 4-12 vs. Atlanta this season...Francisco Liriano (Pittsburgh) has a 16-7 record and a decision in all 23 of his starts this season....Carlos Gomez ()Milwaukee) has robbed hitters of five home runs this season. No other MLB –player has more than two robs.
--Wladimir Balentien of the Yakult Swallows hit his 56th and 57th home runs of the season Sunday to break Japan’s single-season record of 55 (held by Sahaharu Oh, Tuffy Rhodes and Alex Cabrera). Balentien, 29, hit .221 with 15 HRs in 170 MLB games with Seattle and Cincinnati (2007 through 2009). Red Wing fans might recall seeing him with the Louisville Bats in 2010: .282 (113x409) with 25 HRs and 78 RBI in 116 games.
The U.S. men’s national soccer team soared from 19th to 13th in FIFA’s latest monthly world rankings. The higher the ranking gets, the more American sports fans are going to notice and care. The U.S. was as low as 36th July-August 2012...The latest top 10: Spain (for the 25th straight month), Argentina, Germany, Italy, Colombia, Belgium, Uruguay, Brazil, The Netherlands, Croatia.
Cheers to NASCAR for a crackdown on “artificially altered” on-track outcome. Drivers now are expected to “race at 100 percent of their ability with the goal of the best possible finishing position in a race.” Helping teammates win supposedly will be purged. NASCAR had to do something to uphold the integrity of the sport. The big problem is how to enforce it and avoid a revolt by the sponsors and drivers.
Victories by Floyd Mayweather Jr. over Robert Guerrero May 4 and Saul “Carmelo” Alvarez Sept. 14 boosted his record career record to 45-0. He’ll also lead all athletes in earnings this year. Might he be a long shot candidate for Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year? I doubt it. Two fights in one year is a lot by his standards but probably not enough activity for most voters...Boxing hasn’t been a popular sport in voting for this award. The only boxers to be selected AP Male Athlete of the Year are Joe Louis (1935), Ingemar Johansson (1959), Muhammad Ali (1974) and George Foreman (1994)...The favorites for this year’s award include LeBron James, Usain Bolt, Miguel Cabrera and Rafael Nadal.