Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine announced Wednesday that quarterback Brian Hoyer will start Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts. Jay Glazer of Fox Sports first reported the news.
Pettine had said after last Sunday's 26-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills that he wasn't sure whether Hoyer or rookie Johnny Manziel would start the following week and reiterated Monday he wasn't yet ready to decide, saying he'd know more later in the week.
“After thorough evaluation and talking to the staff, we feel Brian gives us the best opportunity to win on Sunday,” Pettine said. “This is a football decision and those are always going to be based on what we think is best for our team. Brian has led our team to a 7-5 record. I’m confident that we can get the entire offense playing at the level needed to accomplish the goals we set at the beginning of the season. Those goals are still very much attainable.”
Glazer reported that Hoyer had "widespread support" in the locker room.
Manziel was in competition for the team's starting quarterback job in training camp after Cleveland selected him with the second of its two first-round picks in May, but he lost out to Hoyer, who started three games for the Browns last season before tearing his ACL.
Hoyer started the first 12 games of this season and has led the team to a 7-5 record, giving Cleveland its most wins since it went 10-6 in 2007. But Hoyer has struggled the past three games, throwing one touchdown and six interceptions as the team has gone 1-2.
Overall, Hoyer has completed 56.2 percent of his passes for 3,056 yards with 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while posting a quarterback rating of 79.9.
Pettine pulled Hoyer in favor of Manziel for the first time this season in the loss to the Bills. Manziel had two possessions after entering in the fourth quarter, leading the Browns on a long drive that culminated in his touchdown run on the first and turning the ball over on downs to essentially end the game on the second.
Overall, Manziel completed five of eight passes for 63 yards against Buffalo. Before last Sunday he had appeared in two games and attempted just one pass.
The former Heisman Trophy winner has been considered by some as the Browns' quarterback of the future. Hoyer, a native of Cleveland, will become a free agent at the end of the season, and the team hasn't said if it will re-sign him.
The Browns are currently in a three-way tie for second place in the AFC North. The Colts are 8-4 and in first place in the AFC South.
- Ben Estes and Chris Johnson