ALL THINGS CONSIDERED -- HOW MANY NFL QBs WOULD YOU TAKE OVER JOSH ALLEN?
Josh Allen has converted me from a skeptic to a staunch supporter.
The rookie out of Wyoming was 5-5 in the 10 games he started and finished for the Buffalo Bills this season. More importantly, the more he played, the better he performed.
The strong-armed Allen led the NFL in percentage of pass attempts of 20-or-more yards. He’ll probably never rank high on the QB charts in completion percentage because short throws are not his specialty. He should make up for that by ranking high on the yards-per-completion chart.
Allen will turn 23 on May 21. All things considered – including age, potential (room to improve), size, raw talent, arm strength, mobility, durability and leadership traits – I’d take only 10 other quarterbacks over Allen to begin next season and for subsequent seasons (post-2019 seasons carry more weight in this exercise).
Prefer over Josh Allen (10) – Sam Darnold, Jimmy Garoppolo, Jared Goff, Andrew Luck, Patrick Mahomes, Baker Mayfield, Aaron Rodgers (35 but he should have three or four good seasons left in him), Carson Wentz, Deshaun Watson, Rusell Wilson.
Equal to Josh Allen (5) – Nick Foles (turns 30 January 30), Cam Newton, Josh Rosen (probably considerably better than he looked on the terrible Arizona Cardinals), Matt Ryan, Mitchell Trubisky.
Rated below Josh Allen – The Big Four, mainly because of advanced age and mileage, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger; plus C.J. Beathard, Blake Bortles, Sam Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater, Jacoby Brissett, Derek Carr, Matt Cassel, Kirk Cousins, Andy Dalton, Chase Daniel, Joshua Dobbs, Jeff Driskel, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Joe Flacco, Mike Glennon, Robert Griffin III, Chad Henne, Brian Hoyer, Lamar Jackson (high risk of injury), Josh Johnson, Case Keenum, Cody Kessler, Colin Kaepernick, DeShone Kizer, A.J. McCarron, Josh McCown, Colt McCoy, Eli Manning, Sean Mannion, Marcus Mariota, Nick Mullins, Brock Osweiler, Dak Prescott, Mark Sanchez, Matt Schaub, Matthew Stafford, Nate Sudfeld, Ryan Tannehill, Tyrod Taylor, Jameis Winston and anybody else.
CAN THE BILLS MATCH THE 1997-TO-1998 TURNAROUND?
The 2018 Buffalo Bills finished 6-10 and will try to match the pattern of the 1997 Bills.
In 1997, Buffalo finished 6-10. The 1998 Bills improved to 10-6 and made the playoffs They lost 24-17 in a wild-card game at Miami.
The 1997 Bills quarterbacks were Todd Collins and Alex Van Pelt. The team got off to a 5-4 start but then went 1-6. Buffalo was outscored 367-255 (-112). It was Marv Levy’s final season as coach.
The 1998 Bills had a new coach – Wade Phillips – and two new quarterbacks – Doug Flutie and Rob Johnson. Buffalo started 0-3 and was 10-3 the rest of the way to finish 10-6. Antowain Smith rushed for 1,124 yards and Eric Moulds and Andre Reed combined for 130 catches and 2.163 yards receiving. The Bills outscored opponents 400-333 (+67).
ANTONIO BROWN WAS ONE OF THE GREAT BARGAINS IN NFL DRAFT HISTORY
Who knows if star receiver Antonio Brown will catch another pass for the Pittsburgh Steelers. What we do know if that he was one of the best draft picks in the team’s history.
Brown was the 195th pick in the 2010 NFL draft, out of Central Michigan. Since entering the NFL, he leads the league in receptions and yards receiving.
Brown was the 22nd wide receiver selected in the draft, behind Demaryius Thomas (22), Dez Bryant (24), Dexter McCluster (36), Arrelious Benn (39), Golden Tate (60), Damian Williams (77), Brandon LaFell (78), Emmanuel Sanders (82), Jordan Shipley (84), Eric Decker (87), Andre Roberts (88), Andre Roberts (88), Taylor Price (89), Marty Gilyard (99), Mike Williams of Syracuse U. (101), Marcus Easley by the Bills (107), Jacoby Ford (108), David Reed (156), Riley Cooper (159), Kerry Meier (165), Carlton Mitchell (177), and Dezmon Briscoe (191).
BOB’S WILD-CARD “BEST BETS”
Indianapolis 24, HOUSTON (-1 ½) 20 – The Colts started 1-5, including a 37-34 home loss to Houston, and are 9-1 since, including a 24-21 road win over Houston...There isn’t a hotter QB in the league than Andrew Luck of Indianapolis. In two games vs. Houston this season, he had 863 yards passing and 6 TD passes.
Saturday’s other game
DALLAS (-2) 28, Seattle 24 – The Cowboys are much better at home (7-1) than on the road (3-5) and the Seahawks are much better at home (6-2) than on the road (4-4). If QB Dak Prescott plays a clean game, Dallas should win.
Los Angeles Chargers 23, BALTIMORE (-2 ½) 20 – I believe the Chargers are the NFL’s most-balanced team (offense/defense and rush/pass) and I’m counting on RB Melvin Gordon and WR Keenan Allen to be healthy.
CHICAGO (-6) 20, Philadelphia 17 – The Bears are 9-1 in their last 10 games thanks mainly to their stingy defense but the spot to the defending champion Eagles is too generous.
Worth noting, since wild cards were introduced in 1970, 10 wild-card teams reached the Super Bowl and six have won the Super Bowl, including the last four (2000 Baltimore, 2005 Pittsburgh, 2007 New York Giants and 2010 Green Bay Packers),
68 YEARS AGO SUNDAY...ROYALS LOST AN NBA-RECORD SIX-OVERTIME GAME
The Sports Arena at Edgerton Park is long gone, but the accomplishments of the Rochester Royals – including the 1951 NBA championship team – will forever be part of this community’s sports lore.
Sunday will be the 68th anniversary – January 6, 1951 – of the longest game in NBA history. The Indianapolis Olympians, led by Ralph Beard and Alex Groza, outlasted the Royals 75-73 at the Sports Arena in six five-minute overtimes.
The line score:
Indianapolis 20-18-19-8-2-0-2-0-4-2 – 75
Rochester 10-23-20-12-2-0-2-0-4-0 – 73.
Arnie Risen had a game-high 26 points for Rochester. Beard and Groza each scored 17 points for Indianapolis.
The overtimes had so little scoring because the team winning the tap to start an overtime period usually “froze” the ball --standing still with the ball or dribbling the ball -- until taking a potential game-winning shot in the final seconds.
Newspaper accounts say some bored fans left the Sports Arena and others read newspapers during the overtime.
The six-ovetime game in Rochester, and outcomes such as a 19-18 Minneapolis victory over the Fort Wayne Pistons, convinced NBA owners that something had to be done to generate more action and scoring. The 24-second shot clock began for the 1954-55 season and scoring increased by 13.6 points per game.
Interestingly, Rochester pro teams were involved in the longest basketball, baseball and soccer games in history.
Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com ranked Buffalo’s Josh Allen 32nd out of 33 NFL quarterbacks with enough playing time to qualify this season. I don’t agree with Rosenthal’s rankings but his description of Allen was interesting: “The Paul Bunyan of quarterbacks didn’t change many minds as a rookie, but it was a fun ride. His believers celebrated his running ability and wow plays, seeing the next Cam Newton. His detractors see an arm too scattershot to ever trust.” C’mon. Give him time.
James Harden was amazing Thursday night in the Houston Rockets 135-134 overtime victory at the Golden State Warriors. He tied the score in regulation and made an off-balance long three-pointer with frustrated Draymond Green and Klay Thompson in his face with one tick left in OT for the victory. He’s averaged 40.2 points in the last 10 games and the Rockets are 6-0 since star guard Chris Paul’s latest hamstring injury. Can he repeat as NBA MVP? He has a shot. He doesn’t play much defense but he’s a fair rebounder and playmaker. Houston GM Daryl Morey calls Harden “maybe the all-time best offensive player.” I’m old, but I prefer Wilt Chamberlain.
Getting out last Sunday’s Dallas at New York Giants game cost Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott the 2018 league title for yards from scrimmage: 1-Saquon Barkley (NYG) 2,028 yards; 2-Elliott (Dallas) 2,001 yards). Barkley became the third rookie to lead the NFL in yards from scrimage, joining Eric Dickerson and Edgerrin James.
Cheers to Buffalo Sabres star Jeff Skinner, who responded to a snub for the NHL All-Star Game by scoring two goals Thursday night in a 4-3 home victory over the Florida Panthers.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...
Friday, January 4
Colin Sexton 20...Ante Zizic 22...Derrick Henry 25...Kris Bryant 27....Kevin Pillar 30...Graham Rahal 30...Eric Weddle 34...Al Jefferson 34..Jiri Hudler 35...Ted Lilly 43...Garrison Hearst 48...Jackie Harris 51...Joe Kleine 57...Don Shula 89. Coco Jones 21, Julia Ormond 54 and Guy Forget 54 are invited to the birthday party.
Saturday, January 5
Tyler Ulis 23...C.J. Cron 29...Danny Ortiz 29...Corey Chavous 43...Warrick Dunn 44...Ryan/Damon Minor 45...Renaldo Turnbull 53...Tim Kerr 59..Joe Cribbs 61....Alex English 65...Charlie Hough 71...Rick Mount 72...Mercury Morris 72...Sam Wyche 74. January Jones 41, Bradley Cooper 44, Marilyn Manson 50, Diane Keaton 73 and Robert Duvall 88 are invited to the birthday party.
Sunday, January 6
Jameis Winston 25...Will Barton 28...Sean Kilpatrick 29...Ndamukong Suh 32...Anthony Slama 35...A.J. Hawk 35...Gilbert Arenas 37...Asante Samuel 38...Richard Zednik 43...Mike Goff 43...James Farrior 44...Keenan McCardell 49...Scott Metcalfe 52...Donnell Woolford 53...Charles Haley 55...Norm Charlton 56...Sean Landeta 57...Howie Long 58...Paul Azinger 59...Keith Crowder 60...Nancy Lopez 62...Don Gullett 68...Harold Jackson 73...Lou Holtz 81. Eric Trump 35 and Eddie Redmayne 37 are invited to the birthday party.
ON THIS DATE IN SPORTS...
99 years ago (1920), the first black pro baseball league was organized: the National Negro Baseball League...77 years ago (1942), the Chicago Bears beat the NFL All-Stars 35-24 in the NFL Pro Bowl...19 years ago (2000), one day after accepting the head coaching job for the New York Jets, Bill Belichick resigned.
62 yars ago (1957), the Dodgers’ Jackie Robinson retired rather than accept a trade to the New York Giants...48 years ago (1971), the 2,495-game winning streak of the Harlem Globetrotters ended with a 100-99 loss to the New Jersey Reds...26 years ago (1993), Reggie Jackson was elected to the baseball Hall of Fame...23 years ago (1996), Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula announced his retirement...12 years ago (2007), Bill Cowher resigned as coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
68 years ago (1951), Indianapolis beat the Rochester Royals 75-73 in an NBA-record six overtimes...43 years ago (1976), Ted Turner purchased the Atlanta Braves for $12 million...25 years ago (1994), ice skater Nancy Kerrigan’s knee was attacked by Tonya Harding’s bodyguard.