Evaluating Johnny Manziel's first NFL start
2:52 | NFL
Evaluating Johnny Manziel's first NFL start
Monday December 15th, 2014

The Cleveland Browns are doubling down on Johnny Manziel. Speaking to reporters on Monday, head coach Mike Pettine echoed his assertion Sunday that Manizel will start again next weekend even after struggling against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Manziel made his first career start Sunday, going 10-of-18 for 80 yards and two interceptions in a 30-0 loss to the Bengals. The Browns fell to 7-7, diminishing the chances of the franchise's first postseason appearance since 2002.

FARRAR: Manziel stumbles early, often in less than spectacular debut start

After the game, Pettine said Manziel "didn't play well," though the blowout loss also can't be pinned on just one person. Cleveland managed only five first downs, went 1-of-10 on third down, made one (unsuccessful) red-zone appearance and allowed Cincinnati to rush for 244 yards.

On Monday, Pettine said the team did "some soul searching" to determine how Sunday's loss happened. Cleveland has two games left this season -- both on the road against the Carolina Panthers and Baltimore Ravens -- to salvage a playoff berth that seemed more likely after the Browns won three straight in late October and early November to move to 6-3. Since then, Cleveland has lost four of its last five games.

Mike Fiammetta

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