Matthews: Will The Bills Miss Preston Brown?

HOW MUCH WILL THE BILLS MISS PRESTON BROWN?

There will be a familiar middle linebacker wearing No. 52 at New Era Field Sunday afternoon, but Preston Brown will be playing for Cincinnati and not for Buffalo, where he spent the first four seasons of his NFL career for a total of $3 million.

After being the NFL’s co-leader with 144 tackles last season, Brown hoped to remain with the Bills with a healthy raise. He get the offer he wanted so he opted to sign with his hometown Bengals – one year for $4 million, including a $2 signing bonus.

Was he another victim of the purge of players from the previous regime at One Bills Drive?

Brown was durable and steady but not a playmaker. In his four seasons with the Bills, he had 512 tackles but only 1 sack, 2 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries and one defensive TD.

Buffalo’s new middle linebacker is rookie first-round draft pick Tremaine Edmunds. He’s only 20 years old and figures to struggle at times this season. He’s very raw and learning. In the long run, he’ll likely provide many more big plays than Brown did.

But I believe Buffalo fans will miss Brown this season. He was not flashy but he got the job done. He reminded me of another Buffalo linebacker – London Fletcher, whose critics pointed out that his impressive tackle stats were inflated because so many of the tackles were far beyond the line of scrimmage. I always wondered how many more TDs opponents would’ve scored had Fletcher not been on the field.

BILLS 5, BENGALS 0: OCT. 22, 1978

If you didn’t watch Thursday night’s NFL preseason – and congratulations if you had something better to do – and you only saw the final score – Cleveland 5, Philadelphia 0 – you might have wondered if the Indians beat the Phillies in an inter-league baseball game.

How rare was the final score of the Browns victory over the Eagles?

The last 5-0 final score in the NFL regular season was the Buffalo Bills over the visiting Cincinnati Bengals, October 22, 1978.

Tom Dempsey kicked a 20-yard field and Lou Piccone got credit for a safety for the game’s only points. Buffalo’s quarterback was Joe Ferguson and Curtis Brown had 100 yards on 15 carries. Coach Chuck Knox’s Bills improved to 3-5 and the Bengals dropped to 0-8.

SPRAYING BASEBALL HITS TO ALL FIELDS

The Boston Red Sox won their 90th game Thursday night. No other MLB team has 80 wins.

Baltimore is 52 games behind Boston in the American League East.

Cleveland, lucky to be in the lousy AL Central, would be three games behind second-place Oakland in the AL West.

Cole Hamels has been a great addition for the Cubs. In his five starts, his 0.79 ERA is lowest in the National League.

Khris Davis (Oakland) took over the AL lead with his 39th HR Thursday night.

The Seattle Mariners are 31-17 in one-run games, the main reason they have a 72-56 record despite a minus-43 run differential.

NL CY YOUNG RACE IS MUCH TOO CLOSE TO CALL

The National League battle for the Cy Young Award figures to go down to th wire between Max Scherzer (Washington), Aaron Nola (Philadelphia) and Jacob deGrom (Mets):

Won-lost records – Scherzer 16-6...Nola 15-3...deGrom 8-8

Earned-run averages – deGrom 1.17...Scherzer 2.13...Nola 2.13

Batting averages against --  Scherzer .178...Nola .198...deGrom .205

Strikeouts – Scherzer 244 in 181.2 innings...deGrom 214 in 174 IP...Nola 169 in 169 IP

Hits allowed – Scherzer 116...Nola 119...deGrom 129

WHIP (walks+hits allowed per inning) – Scherzer 0.89...deGrom.097...Nola .097.

I’M A LITTLE BIT JEALOUS OF CARY, N.C.

The Western New York Flash are gone and Rochester’s downtown soccer stadium is hurting for tenants.

I’d never heard of Cary, North Carolina unril the National Women’s Soccer League Buffalo/Rochester Western New York Flash moved to that town in January 2017.

Thursday it was announced that the U.S. women’s national soccer team will play three games Oct. 4, 7 and 10 in the COCACAF Group B qualifying stage in Cary’s Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park. The games will be shown on the FOX network.

Cary’s population is 162,320. It is called a town despite being the seventh most populous community in the state of North Carolina. It is known for being a popular landing spot for rather affluent transplants from other parts of the country – primarily the north. The median household income is $110,600. The population breakdown in 20.2 percent born in North Carolina, 55.2 percent born in other states and 15.6 percent born outside the United States. It is considered one of the safest low-crime communities of 100,000-plus in the country.

The soccer stadium complex was built in 2002 for $14.5 million. It was financed by taxes on hotel room, prepared food and beverages. A $6.3 million expansion in 2011 boosted the stadium’s capacity from 7,000 to 10,000.

The complex includes the main stadium, two full-sized lighted practice fields and four other regulation-sized fields. Buffalo-based Sahlen’s, former owners of the WNU Flash, bought the stadium naming rights and exclusive hot dog sales rights for $400,000 for five years.

The stadium is home for the USL North Carolina FC and the NWSL North Carolina Courage. With many former WNY Flash playing in prominent roles, the Courage are the class of the top women’s league in the world:  16 win, 1 loss, 5 draws, with two games remaining in the regular season. They’ve outscored opponents 47-16 (+31). Second-place Seattle is 11-4-7 and has outscored opponents 25-10 (+15).

The Courage’s average home attendance is 4,731 – fourth in the nine-team NWSL and more than twice what the NNY Flash drew in downtown Rochester.

Cary has our former NWSL team, a USL men’s soccer team and will host the U.S. national women’s team in October. It also regularly hosts NCAA Division I women’s tournament games.

Cary is doing lots of things right, including a soccer complex that is really working.

SHORT SHOTS

The Rochester Red Wings arte 58-70 after Thursday night’s 5-1 home win over Pawtucket before 10,027  hungry fans on Plates Night. The Wings could finish the season 70-70 by going 12-0 in their remaining 12 games.

New England is the pre-season favorite to win Super Bowl 33 at odds of 6-to-1. In the past 17 NFL seasons, only two pre-season favorites to win the Super Bowl went on to win the Super Bowl: 2006 Indianapolis and 2016 New England. The pre-season favorite lost in the Super Bowl seven times. The pre-season favorite failed to make the playoffs four times.

The first- and second rounds of the WNBA playoffs were single elimination. That must have been exciting. Imagine if the NBA did that.

The starting quarterback for the Albany Great Dames this football season will be fifth-year senior Vincent Testaverde, son of former Heisman Trophy winner Vinny Testaverde.

The newest Rochester Knighthawk is “tough as nails” defender Paxcton Leroux, asemi- legendary 25-year-old  6-foot-4, 215-pound lacrosse/hockey brawler. You can check him out on social media hockey fight videos.

Syracuse U. is favored by 6 points in its 2018 football opener at Western Michigan next Friday night.

Batavia Downs wins by post position through 164 races tgis summer: Post position 1—45 of 164 (27.4 percent)...PP 2 – 27 of 164 (16.6 percent)...PP 3 – 25 of 164 (15.2 percent)...PP 4—23 of 164 (14.0 percent)...PP 5—19 of 162 (11.7 percent)...PP 6—16 of 150 (10.7 percent...PP 7—7 of 133 (6.2 percent)...PP 8 –3 of 52 (5.8 percent). The percentage of winning post-time favorites is 51.83 percent.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Friday, August 24, 2018

Arian Foster (32)...Brett Gardner (35)...Michael Redd (39)...Rafael Furcal (40)...Tim Salmon (50)...Reggie Miller (53)...Cal Ripken Jr. (58)...Mike Shanahan (66)...Vince McMahon (73).

Saturday, August 25

Max Muncy (28)...Brett Gardner (35)...Adam Warren (31)...Gary Matthews (44)...Marvin Harrison (46)...Robert Horry (48)...Albert Belle (52)...Cornelius Bennett (53)...Nate Odomes (53)...Andre McCarter (65)...Rollie Fingers (72). Billy Ray Cyrus (57), Gene Simmons (69), Regis Philbin (87) and Sean Connery (88) are invited to the birthday party.

Sunday, August 26

Alex Collins (24)...James Harden (29)...Elvis Andrus (30)...Jamal Lewis (39)...Donnie Shell (66)...Tommy Heinsohn (84).

ON THIS DATE IN SPORTS...

August 24

99 years ago (1919), Cleveland pitcher Ray Caldwell was flattened by a lightning bolt...55 years ago (1963), John Pennel became the first person to pole vault 17 feet...46 years ago (1972), Gordie Howe and Jean Beliveau were inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame...39 years ago (1989), Pete Rose was banned from baseball for betting on games...10 years ago (1008), the Summer Olympics began in Beijing. It was the most-watched event in TV history, with nearly 5 billion viewers – 70 percent of the world’s population.

August 25

96 years ago (1922), the Chicago Cubs beat the Philadelphia Phillies 26-23...72 years ago (1946), Ben Hogan won the 28th PGA Championship...58 years ago (1960), the 17th Summer Olympics opened in Rome...the AFL began putting the names of the players in the back of their jerseys...50 years ago (1968), Arthur Ashe became the first African-American to win the U.S. singles tennis championship...33 years ago (1985), 20-year-old Dwight Gooden of the Mets became the youngest 20-game winner in MLB history...22 years ago (1996), Tiger Woods won the 96th U.S. Golf Amateur Championship.

August 26

80 years ago (1938), the Montreal Maroons dropped out of the NHL...71 years ago (1947), Don Bankhead, the first black MLB pitcher, hit a home run in his first at-bat...47 years ago (1971), Bobby Orr signed the first $1-million hockey contract. It was a five-year contract extension...46 years ago (1972), the 20th Summer Olympics began in Munich...14 years ago (1972), Rochester’s Abby Wambach scored for the U.S. in a 2-1 victory over Brazil for the gold medal in the Athens Olympics...6 years ago (2012), 15-year-old Lydia Ko became the youngest LPGA tournament winner and the first amateur winner since 1969...2 years ago (2016), San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled in protest during the national anthem to object to racial injustice and police brutality.

Bob Matthews' Column

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