BEREA — Despite being blown out by the Cincinnati Bengals 30-0 on Sunday in the team’s final home game of the season, the Browns are moving forward with Johnny Manziel as the starting quarterback.
“We feel he gives us an opportunity to win, but I think we’re hanging too much on the quarterback position. We haven’t played well enough around him and it showed,” said head coach Mike Pettine. “I think we could’ve played Brian Sipe at quarterback yesterday and I don’t think the outcome would’ve been much different.”
Manziel made his first NFL start on Sunday, a highly-anticipated affair that didn’t quite go the way Manziel or any of his teammates had hoped. Manziel finished the day 10 of 18 for 80 yards, 2 interceptions a quarterback rating of 27.3.
“It’s the first game I’ve ever not scored a point in and been shut out. I’ve played in a lot of games, I feel like, from high school through college, and that one, and I’ve never been shut out until then. It was definitely tough,” said Manziel.
Manziel becomes the sixth rookie quarterback to start under center for the Browns since 1999, all six have lost their debut. Manziel is also the first quarterback to be shut-out in his first career start since 2010.
“I don’t think there’s anything from that game getting beat 30-0 that’s going to sit there and make you pump your fist. Just going through some progressions, I feel like there was just some miscommunication. There were just some times we were off, one person was off. It takes all 11 guys to make the whole thing work,” Manziel said.
The Browns have to go back to the drawing board and try to figure out how to jump start an offense that for a fourth straight week had 0 touchdowns and 2+ interceptions, something that hasn’t happened since 1977.
“I think we showed some flashes there. It wasn’t all bad. We only got 38 plays, 40 plays in there so that’s not a ton of looks,” Manziel said. “Obviously, we left some plays on the field that we would’ve wanted back. I left some throws on the field that I would’ve wanted back. As a group, I think we did that so I think we’ll be fine. This is just a little bump.”
Manziel will get another chance to “wreck this league” on Sunday when the Browns travel to Carolina to face the Panthers.