The first start of the Johnny Manziel era is a nightmare, a 30-0 loss. The Cincinnati Bengals (9-4-1) started with a 14 play, 81 yard touchdown drive and never looked back.
Coming into week 13 of the NFL season, Johnny Manziel had 63 passing yards, rushing for 13 yards and only one interception. His numbers did not get any better but worse today. The Cincinnati Bengals quarterback, Andy Dalton, in his last two games was held under 100 yards passing. A game where Johnny Football thrived and Dalton struggled was expected. Instead the Cleveland Browns, (7-7) on their first five possessions in the first half, turned the ball over twice and punted three times. The Browns went into the half trailing 20-0. Johnny Manziel was sacked three times and went four of nine, for 22 yards passing, and threw two interceptions to finish a bad first half.
Drafted No. 22 in 2014 from Texas A&M, Johnny Football come up way short of his performances at the Kyle Field in College Station, TX where in 2012 Manziel passed for 26 touchdowns and ran in 21 more. Instead of his usual self, Johnny Football forced the action, over-throwing many times and looking uncomfortable in the pocket, constantly scrambling outside trying to create a play.
Accounting for the two early turnovers, Johnny Football was constantly taunted all game after he made a mistake, was sacked or stopped for a short gain. It was clear the hype was in the minds of the Bengal defense.
During the week, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis called Manziel a midget, sparking the storylines leading to the Sunday morning matchup. Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga got into the discussion when he constantly was seen taunting and giving the money sign back to Manziel, on several occasions.
On one money sign, Maualuga was flagged for taunting the sign in front of Manziel’s face. The next play, Maualuga intercepted the ball from Manziel sparking debate and making for a good show. The interception later was overturned for an offsides penalty from the Bengals, but the psychological wound was in place and the Browns struggled all game.
The Bengal offense totaled 347 yards and possessed the ball for close to 40 minutes, keeping Manziel off the field. The Browns possessed the ball for only 21 minutes and only had 107 total yard on offense.
The running game of the Bengals rushed for 244 yards and was led by Jeremy Hill who carried the ball 25 times for 148 yards, scoring two touchdowns. Also contributing was Giovanni Bernard, who on 15 carries rushed for 79 yards.
Andy Dalton did not need impressive numbers because of the strong run game of the Bengals, passing for 14 of 24, 117 yards, and 1 INT. Compared to Johnny Manziel, who was 10 of 18 for 80 yards with 2 interceptions, Dalton comes away now with a small lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5) in the AFC-North standings. The Steelers defeated the Atlanta Falcons 27-20 today. The Browns are now in last in the division, with a .500 record.
Next week the Johnny Manziel first start nightmare will be behind the Texas A&M product and he will look forward to playing the on the road against the Carolina Panthers (5-8-1). The Panthers currently do not have Cam Newton due to his car crash injury. The Bengals will host the Denver Broncos (10-3) next week.
Commentary By Daniel Gudino
Photo courtesy of: Erik Drost – Flickr License