Matthews: Rating The Fab Five NFL 2018 First-Round QBs...



I’ll be keeping weekly tabs in this space on the successes and failures of the five high-profile quarterbacks selected in the 2018 NFL college draft.

This will not be scientific. I’ll give the grades 1 (terrible) to 10 (excellent) each week. Passing accuracy and stats, TD passes, positive running and victories will be good. Lousy completion percentages, Interceptions, sacks are losses will be bad.

QBs will receive a grade of O for games missed, including injuries. Durabilty and reliability count.

I vow to be fair but I do hope Buffalo’s Josh Allen winds up with the top grade at the end of this season.

The Week 1 rankings:

1-Lamar Jackson (Baltimore) --17-of-20 for 324 yards, with 5 TD passes; 0 INTs; 1 sack for 1 yard; 99.4 QB rating; 158.3 passer rating in a 39-10 win at Miami.

I don’t dock him any credits for only 3 carries for 6 yards because the Ravens prefer that he not overdo the scrambling to preserve his health. GRADE: 9.5 points (only negative was the opponent).

2—Josh Allen (Buffalo) –He was awful early with four turnovers but he engineered a 17-point rally for a 17-16 road victory over the New York Jets...24-of-37 for 254 yards and 1 TD pass, 2 INTs; 10 carries for 38 yards, including a clutch scramble for a first down in the fourth quarter. The comeback undoubtedly boosted his cred with teammates. GRADE: 7.0 points.

3—Sam Darnold (New York Jets) –He wasn’t close to top form and was the main reason the Jets couldn’t pad their lead and put the game away; only4.3 yards per pass attempt; 1 run for 0 yards; 27.5 QBR. GRADE: 4.0 points.

4—Baker Mayfield (Cleveland Browns) – An embarrassing performance considering the hype and positive vibes for the Browns entering the game. Three INTs, sacked 5 times for 41 yards and no runs in a 43-13 home loss to Tennessee. 27.2 QBR and 64.0 passer rating. GRADE: 3.0 points.

5—Josh Rosen (Miami Dolphins) – At least he made a cameo appearance in a 59-10 home loss to Baltimore. 1-of-3 for 5 yards; 0 TD passes: sacked once for 6 yards; 1 INT; 0.1 QBR; 2.8 passer rating. GRADE: 0.5 point.


The sometimes trusty FiveThirtyEight sports computer spits out the updated probabilities to win the 2019 World Series:

Houston Astros 28 percent (106-56 record; +281 run differential)

Los Angeles Dodgers 21 percent (104-58; +264)

New York Yankees 17 percent (106-56; +200)

Atlanta Braves 8 percent...Washington Nationals 5 percent...St. Louis Cardinals 5 percent...Minnesota Twins 4 percent...Oakland Athletics 3 percent...Chicago Cubs 3 percent...Tampa Bay Rays 2 percent...all other teams less than 1 percent.

Bob’s takes: The Twins will miss suspended No. 4 starting pitcher Michael Pineda, and Byron Buxton might be unavailable (shoulder injury; he can run and field but be can’t swing a bat), but the bullpen has been surprisingly effective lately and this team should be better than 4 percent...I’d make the Dodgers the World Series favorites because they’ll have an easier road to the World Series through the National League...In the American League, a probable Astros versus Yankees would be quite a challenge.


Milwaukee Brewers star Christian Yelich is out for the season after suffering a broken kneecap on a foul ball Tuesday night.The injury probably erases his hopes for a repeat as National Leaguer Most Valuable Player award and likely dooms his team’s hopes for a playoff berth.

He was hitting .329 with 44 HRs and leading MLB in slugging percentage (.671) and OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) at 1.100.

Xxxx Yelich joined Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr., as the only members of MLB’s 30-30 Club this season:

Acuna 38 HRs and 34 stolen bases

Christian Yelich 44 HRs and 30 stolen bases.

Mike Trout has 45 HRs but only 11 stolen bases. He’s still efficient (11-of-13 this season; 200-of-236 for his career), but his attempts have been declining.

Xxxx The New York Yankees lost 12-11 in Detroit Tuesday night but they crashed 6 more home runs to finally tie the Minnesota Twins for the MLB lead with 276 HRs. The Yankees held the old MLB record with 267 HRs last season.

Xxxx The Los Angeles Dodgers won their seventh straight National League West division title and became the first MLB team to clinch a playoff berth Tuesday night with a 7-3 win in Baltimore.


The Carolina Panthers host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Thursday night in a matchup of fading former Heisman Trophy winners: Cam Newton versus Jameis Winston. Cam has done more as a pro and I believe he has more left despite his shoulder issues.

The Panthers are coming off a tough Week 1 30-27 loss to the loaded visiting Los Angeles Rams. The Rams are much better than the Bucs and the Panthers should be primed to avoid a 0-2 start at home.

This week’s “Best Bet”:CAROLINA (-6 ½) 28, Tampa Bay 17.


Home teams were a modest 8-7-1 outright in NFL Week 1 but an expensive 5-11 against the Las Vegas point spread.

Las Vegas favorites were 10-5-1 outright

Las Vegas favorites were 6-10 against the point spread

Teams scoring first were 8-7-1

Teams leading after the first quarter were 7-5-1

Teams leading at halftime were 10-5-1

Teams leading after three quarters were 12-3-1

Teams winning the turnover battle were 10-2-1

Teams leading in time of possession were 11-4-1

Teams with the most rushing yards were 11-4-1

Teams with the most passing yards were 8-7-1

Teams with the fewest yards penalized were 11-4-1

Five games were decided by 3 points or less

Eight games were decided by 7 points or less.

The Los Angeles Chargers (NFC) beat Indianapolis (AFC) in Week 1’s only interconference game.


Batavla Downs will be hopping Saturday for the richest night of harness racing in the track’s history.

The prestigious $1.8 million NYSS Night of Champions will feature the best two-year-old and three-year-old state-bred fillies and colts, pacers and trotters. They’ll be competing in eight races, each with $225,000 purses. First post time is 6 p.m.

The card also will include the prestigious $50,000 Robert J. Kane Invitational Pace.

Batavia Downs live racing director Todd Haight will be on the show 6:35 Friday to talk about his long love affair with harness racing. The winter bus treks to Batavia and Hamburg’s Buffalo Raceway as a young fan in the 1970s to his current job has been an interesting journey.


How did the clever headline writers react to the New York Jets losing 17-16 to visiting Buffalo last Sunday after leading 16-0?

SAME FOLD JETS...Gang Green roll over in fourth as Gase Era starts with heartbreaker

TO START, A BRUTAL FINISH...Gase Era opens with crushing collapse

CHOKE’s ON THEN...Darnold Fails to deliver in the clutch


The headline writers weren’t any kinder to the Giants after a 35-017 loss at the Dallas Cowboys:

BIG D-EBACLE...Giants are no match for Cowboys in season opener...5th straight ‘L’ TO Dallas

AS BAD AS FEARED...Big Blue Defense gets torched all day by “Boys,

Xxxx This week’s ESPN NFL Power Rankings are another example of the national media underrating the Buffalo Bills. The Bills are 22nd, up 3 spots from Week 1. That’s bad enough. But Buffalo is ranked bebind Pittsburgh (No. 16 after a hapless 33-3 loss at New England) and Cleveland (lost 43-13 at home to Tennessee). That’s simply not right.


Thursday, September 11

Mike Moustakas 31...Andrew Cashner 33...Shaun Livingston 34...Jacony Ellsbury (the phantom Yankee) 36...Mike Comrie 39...Ed Reed 41...Paul Heyman 54...Ellis Burks 55...Gerald Wilkins 56...Jeff Sluman 62..Robin Cole 64....Johnny Neumann 68...Marty Liquori 70...Franz Beckenbauer 74. Ludacris 42 and Harry Connick Jr., 52 are invited to the birthday Party.

Friday, September 12

Andrew Luck 30...Freddie Freeman 30...Yao Ming 39...Martin Lapointe 46...Ki-Jana Carter 46...Angel Cabrera 50...Vernon Maxwell 54...Road Warrior Animal 59...Cindy Rarick 60...Deron Cherry 60...Wilfred Benitez 61...Chip Becki 63...Ricky Rudd 63...John Fuqua 73...Ron Ward 75...Mickey Lolich 79. Jennifer Hudson 38, Jason Statham 52 and Linda Gray 79 are invited to the birthday party.


September 11

1928 (91 years ago), Ty Cobb popped out against the New York Yankees in his final MLB at-bat.

1956 (63 years ago), Yogi Berra of the Yankees tied the career record for catchers with his 236th career home run.

1959 (60 years ago), Pittsburgh relief pitcher Elroy Face’s 22-game winning streak ended with a 5-4 loss to the Dodgers.

1972 (47 years ago), the XX Summer Olympics closed in Munich, Germany.

1982 (37 years ago), Chris Evert won her sixth and final U.S. Open singles title; she beat Hana Mandikova 6-3, 6-1.

1983 (36 years ago), Franco Harris became only the third NFL running back to rush for 11,000 yards.

1985 (34 years ago), Pete Rose got career hit No. 4,192 to top Ty Cobb’s MLB record.

1999 (20 years ago), Serena Williams won her first Grand Slam title; she beat Martina Hingis 6-3, 7-6 in the U.S. Open.

September 12

1895 (124 years ago), Annie Londonderry completed the first round-the-world trip by a woman on a bicycle in 15 months and collected her $10,000 prize.

1911 (108 years ago), Boston’s Cy Young beat Christy Mathewson of the Giants 9-0.

1975 (43 years ago), the Seattle Seahawks plasyed their first regular-season NFL game; St. Louis won 30-24.

2004 (15 years ago), Roger Federer won his first U.S. Open title; he beat Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-4, 6-7, 6-1.

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