After being punished and demoted by head coach Mike Pettine for partying on his bye-week, Johnny Manziel was back on the field after spending the last two games on the sidelines.
Manziel, 23, made the most of his second chance, while giving the Browns organization and their fans some hope that he still might be the quarterback that they drafted twenty-second overall in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Making his first start since playing the Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5) on November 15, when he threw for a career high 372 yards, Manziel looked sharp again in the first half of the Cleveland Browns (3-10) 24-10 victory over the San Francisco 49ers (4-9), with the exception of one bad throw that he tried to throw across his body and it was ultimately picked off.
It was late in the first half when Manziel was forced from the pocket and was being chased by a San Francisco defender near the Browns sideline. But instead of running out bounds or throwing the ball away, Manziel forced a pass over the middle that was intercepted by by 49ers safety Jaquiski Tartt, who then returned it 25-yards.
Manziel proceeded to storm off the field and then slammed his helmet to the ground. He then took a seat on the bench and began to angrily slam a tablet against his head in frustration for his mistake.
Manziel later redeemed himself with several high quality passes, including a short pass to tight end Gary Barnidge, who early this week signed a three-year, $12 million contract extension. As for the 49ers quarterback, Blaine Gabbert, he was harassed and roughed up all day, while throwing for only 194 yards with a six-yard touchdown to Jerome Simpson with 1:42 left in the game. The 49ers were hurt by penalties, but their bigger issues revolved around poor blocking, tackling and just plain poor execution.
As for Johnny Manziel, he was 21-for-31 for 270 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Not only did Manziel have a good game, but so did the Browns running backs. In particular, Isaiah Crowell, who rushed for 145 yards with a pair of touchdowns. And rookie Duke Johnson Jr. finished just 22 yards shy of a 100 yards rushing with 78 yards on 13 carries. This also happened to be the Browns first win in December since 2012.
Main image credit: