After an inauspicious first snap, Johnny Manziel staked his claim to the Browns’ starting quarterback job with the best performance of his career in Sunday’s 30-9 loss in Pittsburgh.
Manziel, who had the ball slip out of his hands for a fumble on his first play from scrimmage, completed 33 of 45 passes 372 yards and a touchdown with one interception. Manziel should’ve had one more touchdown, but his quick slant to Travis Benjamin was dropped in the end zone in the fourth quarter.
With the Browns unable to move the ball on the ground once again, Manziel had to do most of the heavy lifting. His 17 yards rushing were a team-high, six of which came on this ridiculous spin move on Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier.
That play came on Manziel’s best drive of the day, a 15-play, 79-yard march that was wasted after he was ruled just shy of the goal line on this unbelievable 11-yard scramble that looked like a touchdown as it happened.
After Antonio Browns’s 56-yard catch and run to the end zone, Manziel moved Cleveland right back down the field, but the drive stalled at the Pittsburgh 5 with four straight incompletions, including the one drop by Benjamin of a sure touchdown.
All in all, it was a solid day for Manziel , who more than doubled his previous career high of 182 passing yards. In fact, if he gets those two touchdowns late, his day would have been virtually identical to Roethlisberger’s.