Manziel’s Debut Leaves Browns’ Fans Hoping for Better Days

CLEVELAND — The Cincinnati Bengals shutout the Cleveland Browns by the score of 30-0 as they were able to control the game with their rushing attack, and relentless pursuit of the quarterback on defense.

The Cleveland Browns got off to a rough start, and never recovered in their week 15 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals’ offensive line routinely reached the second level of the defense to pave the way for Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard.

Sheard vs Bengals

Jabaal Sheard took responsibility for the Bengals’ offensive linemen consistently making blocks downfield. “That’s on us,” Sheard said. “That’s what we take pride in up front, taking two [blockers] being the dirty guys up front in the trenches. That’s something we didn’t do today.”

The Browns’ offense was unable to generate any positive momentum throughout the course of the game and left their defense out on the field entirely too long. At halftime the Browns’ defense played a total of 37 snaps compared to just 22 for the Bengals’ defense. Jeremy Hill’s production enabled the Bengals to control the game as he had 103 yards on 16 carries at the half.

The lone highlight for the Browns in the first half was Craig Robertson intercepting Andy Dalton with 6:36 remaining in the second quarter. While his run after the interception was called back due to a holding penalty, he demonstrated his skill as a runner. “I just read the quarterbacks eyes and I made a play on the football,” Robertson said.Craig Robertson vs Bengals

When asked about his ability to make defenders miss on the return, Robertson said, “I played some running back in high school.” While the return didn’t stand, it was still rather exciting to watch a linebacker string moves together as fluidly as Robertson was able to.

The Browns lost Joe Haden in the first half to a shoulder injury as well as rookie Justin Gilbert with a head injury. However, their absence would be inconsequential as the Bengals objective was to control the game by having success running the football. Andy Dalton finished the game with just 117 yards through the air, but his performance was more than enough for the Bengals to come away with the win as Hill finished the game with 148 yards and two touchdowns on 25 attempts, and Bernard added another 79 yards on 15 carries.

Johnny Manziel had just 80 yards through the air and a pair of interceptions on the day. When asked whether the number of times Manziel rolled out of the pocket reduced opportunities for the wide receivers, Gordon said,

Manziel vs Bengals


“He [Johnny Manziel] was rolling out even when he didn’t have to because the rush was everywhere. He had to roll out, not even designed plays. If it’s not designed to roll out and you’re rolling out… everyone has to think quicker and move in the opposite direction.”

Manziel summed up his performance by saying,

“…I felt like it was a fail on my part for the position and it’s tough. It’s going to take time. It’s a process for sure. The thing that you come out of here with, that gives you a little bit of joy is the way those guys in the locker room after the game, obviously everybody is extremely disappointed, we wanted to win the game, nobody wants to win in there more than I do. It’s tough to come out there and lay an egg like that and I put a lot of that on me.”

The Browns had the fewest number of offensive snaps of any team in a single game this season with 38. Due to a lack of plays on offense, the Browns will likely need the remainder of the season to monitor Manziel’s progress. Today’s game wasn’t the best indicator of his ability as the Browns had protection problems throughout the game.

Next week the Browns will face the Panthers’ struggling defense. The Panthers are giving up 117.5 rushing yards per game and are currently rated 23rd in the NFL in points allowed with 25.6 per game. If the Browns are able to execute up front, it should lead to better play from their rookie quarterback.

Hopefully Manziel’s calamitous introduction to the NFL is a necessary steppingstone for a successful career.







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