Cleveland Browns find their mojo: 5 takeaways from win over 49ers
By Thomas Moore
Dec 13, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) throws a pass against the San Francisco 49ers during the second quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Johnny Manziel returned to the starting lineup and had what was his best day as an NFL quarterback against the 49ers’ 27th-ranked pass defense.
Manziel finished the game 21-of-31 for 270 yards, with the touchdown pass to Barnidge and one interception. He was also only sacked twice and extended several plays by escaping the San Francisco pass rush.
Even though it ended with an interception on a horrible decision to wildly throw the ball into the middle of the field while scrambling, that drive near the end of the first half was promising in its own way.
After a false start penalty on John Greco on first down, Manziel was sacked for an 11-yard loss, setting the Browns up with a second-and-26 on their own four-yard line. That turned into third-and-26 after an incomplete pass and disaster seemed ready to strike as Manziel was brought down in the end zone for an apparent safety.
But a facemask penalty on San Francisco’s Corey Lemonier gave the Browns a new set of downs. While that drive would eventually come to an end on the aforementioned interception, the fact that the offense didn’t let the early setbacks short circuit the drive was very encouraging.
For one day, when it came to Manziel, it was all good.
“Every time I have been behind center and gotten a chance to make another start I feel more confident,” Manziel said. “I feel that I am able to go through my reads. I am able to slow down all the protections stuff and make sure we have a guy on a guy and able to sit back there and know you are protected.”
Next: What does it all mean?