Johnny Manziel will get a chance at redemption Thursday night at Paul Brown Stadium for what was an awful outing in his NFL debut last season in a 30-0 loss to the Bengals.
Not many people are giving Cleveland much of a shot against the 7-0 Bengals, but for Manziel and the Browns they are just looking to put a full 60 minutes together after another tough loss last week at home.
“Johnny has worked hard to prepare himself,” Browns coach Mike Pettine said. “He is excited about his opportunity and we are all looking forward to the challenge we face in a good Bengals football team.”
The Browns with Josh McCown at QB last week led the Arizona Cardinals 20-7 at one point before the Cards came storming back, topping Cleveland 34-20 to drop the Browns to 2-6.
Now with McCown out with a variety of injuries and Manziel back under center, he’s hoping to lead the team to their third win of the year against a very good Bengals defense.
Last December in Manziel’s first NFL start at home vs the Bengals, the QB threw for 80 yards, threw two interceptions and was beaten up badly in a 30-0 loss.
Manziel needs some sort of run game in order to pull off the upset, which is asking for a lot from a team that is ranked 29th rushing, and has scored just two rushing touchdowns.
The former Texas A&M QB needs to avoid turnovers and needs a lot of help from a Browns defense that is 30th in the NFL, allowing just over 400 yards per game.
Andy Dalton and the Bengals won their biggest game of the season Sunday in Pittsburgh, beating the Steelers 16-10 after trailing all afternoon until the final minutes when the QB found A.J. Green with the winning score.
“Just the way that this season has played out, there’s times we’ve had to come back and we’ve been able to do it, and that does build confidence,” Dalton said. “If you prove you can do it, then there won’t be any doubt that you can do it again.”
At 7-0 for the first time ever, it seems that if the Bengals can harass Manziel enough into a couple mistakes, and hand the ball off a bunch to Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard, there’s no reason to think Cleveland can keep this a game for more than a half.
While Manziel will look to play better, Dalton will try to rebound from the worst game of his career last season when the teams met in Cincy.
Dalton was picked off three times while going 10 of 33 for 86 yards and a career-low 2.0 rating back on November 6th.
This time, he’ll likely have more than 86 yards in the first quarter, and the Bengals should easily roll to be the 33rd team in NFL history to reach 8-0.
Cincinnati 34 Cleveland 14
Cleveland – Johnny Manziel 118 yards 1 rushing TD, Isaiah Crowell 39 yards rushing 1 TD, Gary Barnidge 48 yards receiving
Cincinnati – Andy Dalton 312 yards 3 TD’s, Jeremy Hill 121 yards 1 TD, A.J. Green 110 yards receiving 1 TD
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