Cleveland Browns vs. San Francisco 49ers: 3 keys to a win

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Nov 15, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) runs the ball against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second half at Heinz Field. The Steelers won the game, 30-9. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Before Johnny Manziel’s latest off-field incident, it appeared he was starting to turn the corner in his development as an NFL quarterback. In his last start against Pittsburgh, Manziel threw for 372 yards and looked poised and confident while being in full control of the offense. The game didn’t look to fast for Manziel as he was successfully able to make plays inside and outside the pocket.

It was easily his best game as a pro.

Although the offense only managed nine points in the loss, Manziel was efficient in leading the Browns offense and showed major strides on the field. The issues with Manziel will remain what happens off the field.

Today against the 49ers Manziel gets a fortunate opportunity to start at home against a below average team. The 49ers defense enters the game 27th in pass defense, yielding 269.9 yards per game, and 28th in total yardage, giving up 395 .1 yards per contest. Simply put, Manziel must produce and score points at home against a bad defense and give the Browns a chance to win the game.

The last four games of the season are very important for Manziel as he is trying to give his last impression to prove to the Browns front office he can be their quarterback going forward.

With all of the incidents off the field, Manziel feels luckily to be back under center starting.

“I had to learn it the hard way,” Manziel said last week. “I am lucky to be back in the position that I am in and being the starter again. I am definitely not taking it lightly, that’s for sure.”

If Manziel makes it through the final four games as the starting quarterback it will be his longest string of starts in the NFL. This string of games will provide Manziel a final opportunity to showcase his ability as a quarterback as the Browns prepare  for another long off-season.

Next: Blaine Gabbert vs. the Browns defense