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Bill Pucko - Chief Editor

Today's Best

by Peter King, 10/20/14
Hyperbole after the Broncos QB broke the NFL career touchdown mark? Nope. Presenting the numbers that show Peyton Manning is better in Denver than he was in Indy.

by Pat Forde, 10/17/14
The Florida State quarterback has become the most rooted-against player I've seen in the sport, ever. Johnny Manziel was a minor annoyance last year by comparison. Cam Newton had only two months on the griddle after pay-for-play allegations in 2010. I'm not sure anyone else is even in the conversation.


Home Grown

by Vic Carucci, Buffalo News 10/20/14
After four turnovers, including an interception and fumble by Orton … after injuries that caused the Bills’ top two running backs, Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller, to be carted off the field for good in the first half … after six penalties, including one for having 12 defenders on the field, that would grow to eight after Orton would be called for intentional grounding with 25 seconds left … after four sacks that would become six with two in a three-play span after the two-minute mark … after Orton was wildly off the mark on multiple throws … who in their right mind could have believed the Bills had anything except a fourth loss coming their way?

by Jay Skurski, Buffalo News 10/17/14
It would be one thing if the Bills’ run game was performing the way it did a season ago, when the team ranked second in the NFL in rushing yards. But that’s not the case. Buffalo ranks 21st in the NFL on the ground through the first six weeks, and has really languished the last four, averaging just 75 yards per game over that time.


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Our Contribution

Returning Home Alone Again

by Bill Pucko, 10/20/14

My first column for Messenger Post Newspapers appeared on July 31, 2008.  It was called "Returning Home Alone." 
I somehow turned it into a sports story by recounting a baseball trip taken with my son Kyle between Rochester and Chicago with stops along the way on I-90, culminating in a visit to Wrigley Field.  But the real point was how difficult the return trip was without him.  Kyle stayed in Chicago for work and I was, as the title implied, returning home alone.
Six years, three months and some 300 columns later I find myself in pretty much the same place.  The youngest of my three children leaves for Queens at the end of this month to begin his career as a forester.  Yes, in Queens.
Carrie was the 1998 and 1999 Section Five diving champion.  She would bring a Disney coloring book to the major meets and color between dives to keep her mind off the pressure.  She also played a little softball.  Her last play in left field for Webster came in the final inning of a sectional championship against Fairport.  She threw out a runner at the plate.  Sports helped get her into Holy Cross.
Kyle was the only member of his senior class on the Webster soccer team to play past high school.  He was third team All-SUNY at Geneseo as a senior on sheer will.  His moment of truth came in a game at St. John Fisher.  He was the victim of a hard foul and a penalty shot was called.  The Knights had a designated shooter but Kyle, as the aggrieved party, insisted on taking it himself.  He missed.  The walk of shame back to the bench couldn't have been any more difficult for him than it was for me in the stands watching that day.
Nathan never met a game he didn't love, but it was evident a few years before the actual moment of truth, that he might not have the ability to play either varsity soccer or baseball at Webster Thomas.  That turned out to be the case.  After playing JV in both sports, he was cut trying out for the varsity.  Twice in soccer.  He took the slights in stride.  Even helped me sculpt a column on the pain of being told you weren't good enough.  There were few hard feelings.
So now Carrie is in Seattle, Kyle is in Missoula, Montana, and Nathan is on his way downstate.  I couldn't be prouder of their ambition and accomplishments.  Still, it might have been nice had one of them been a little less adventurous and stuck closer to home, so we could play a round of golf, have lunch at Sticky Lips, or take in a Red Wings game at the spur of the moment. 
That of course is a totally selfish sentiment.  The point here is, those of you currently buried under the burdens of youth sports, driving to practice and attending games, escaping work to drive forty minutes to see the last five of some contest somewhere, and as often as not, getting lost along the way, are more fortunate than you know. 
Appreciate those moments.  They go by in a blink.  And you'll miss them when they're gone.



from 5/21/14

Tyler Ennis' game likely would have benefited from another season or two in college, but as a possible lottery pick, he probably made the right decision from a financial standpoint.

from 5/20/14
Both Toronto and Minnesota jumped five places this week, with the Blue Jays continuing an impressive rise up the rankings. Toronto is the only team in the AL East with a positive run differential, thanks in large part to the division's best offense -- the Blue Jays have scored the third-most runs in the AL and lead the league in home runs.



by Tim Heaney, USA Today 10/20/14
Their most complete runner, Tre Mason led this backfield in rushing yards for the second straight week and scored his first NFL touchdown. Coach Jeff Fisher doesn’t like committees. Mason may convince Fisher he doesn’t need one.

by Evan Silva, 10/17/14
Trending toward the fantasy-bust zone, C.J. Spiller played just 12-of-69 snaps (17.4%) in last week's loss to New England, seeing a year low in carries (6) -- one fewer than Anthony Dixon's seven. An early-game deficit surely had something to do with Spiller's reduced role, but it's also conceivable that the Bills' coaching staff would prefer to use Spiller sparingly.