Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel to start next week
The Browns lost 30-0 in the AFC North showdown, dropping to 7-7 while the division-leading Bengals moved to 9-4-1 with two games remaining in the regular season. Manziel, in his first career start, went 10-of-18 for 80 yards and two interceptions, leading the Browns to just five first downs and one red-zone attempt.
"He didn't play well," Pettine told reporters. "He looked like a rookie, played like a rookie. I know a lot of it was we didn't play well around him, but he made some obvious mistakes that typically a veteran quarterback won't make."
Asked if Manziel will start next week, Pettine simply said, "Yes." Pettine also said the loss doesn't fall on any one player. Cleveland surrendered 244 rushing yards, allowing the Bengals four scoring drives that lasted at least nine plays. The Browns also held the ball for just 21:08 compared to the Bengals' 38:52.
"You can't base it on one game," Pettine said. "We didn't play complementary football. When you're trailing, you have to throw it more. It's so much more a function of the team than the individual. ... Disappointing start for him, but there were flashes of what he's capable of. I don't want to dwell on the one position."
Before Sunday's start, Manziel had appeared in three games as a backup to Brian Hoyer, going 5-of-9 for 63 yards, plus two rushing attempts for 13 yards and a touchdown.
The Browns' last two games will be on the road, beginning next weekend against the Panthers (5-8-1) before the regular-season finale against the Baltimore Ravens (9-5).
- Mike Fiammetta