The debut of Johnny Manziel for the Cleveland Browns turned their game against the Detroit Lionsinto one of the most hyped up NFL preseason games ever, but it wasn’t just the 13-12 that was anti-climactic, but also the performance from the rookie quarterback, along with Brian Hoyer and Matthew Stafford who also didn’t impress.
The Browns in general got a woeful overall performance from their quarterbacks. Manziel came on after Hoyer, and finished with 7-of-11 for 63 yards, also breaking out on six runs for 27 yards. Overall, the Browns’ quarterbacks combined to complete just 43.2% of their throws, and Tyler Thigpen also threw an interception while he completed just three throws out of his 12 attempts.
In terms of scoring, we had seven field goals until Kellen Moore completed a 21-yard pass to Cory Fuller, giving the Lions the preseason win with less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter. Matthew Stafford played only one series, completing 2-of-4 passes for 18 yards, while Reggie Bush didn’t get anything going on the ground or in the air. Calvin Johnson didn’t play, and Golden Tate made his first receptions for the Lions, catching a pass for 14 yards during the only time he was targeted.
One interesting thing about Manziel was how disciplined he was. He threw nine of his 11 passes from within the pocket, and all of his completions came without any scrambles or breakaways, although he did get some rushing yards that way. The Lions’ pass-rush, obviously in preseason mode, wasn’t able to get any sacks, but we did see the offensive line struggle against that unit more than once earlier in the game.
Other players worth mentioning were Josh Gordon, the talented wide receiver who is waiting to hear from the NFL on his suspension. He caught two passes for 32 yards. Eric Ebron, the Lions’ rookie tight end out of North Carolina, caught one pass for a couple of yards, but was targeted four times, as combination of bad throws and bad route running led to a forgettable NFL preseason debut.