|Written by Mike|
Bet on the NFLThe buzz was all around Cleveland's FirstEnegy Stadium as Johnny Manziel made his first start as the Cleveland Browns' quarterback. However, it was a game that he would probably want to forget as the Cincinnati Bengals eliminated the Browns from playoff contention with a 30-0 win. In fact, the game was practically the polar opposite of their meeting last month in Cincinnati when the Browns had a 24-3 victory. The game even had pick-em odds for the day and the Bengals still pulled through.
Manziel's first two possessions were three-and-outs. To make things worse, he had two interceptions in the second quarter. One of them was right on the Bengals' goal line. In addition, the Bengals scored on each of their first four possessions as Jeremy Hill had two rushing touchdowns.
The Browns had two more three-and-outs in the third quarter and could not even get a single field goal attempt for all that they were doing. The Bengals even ran out the clock in the fourth quarter with a nine-minute drive that led to a touchdown for backup running back Rex Burkhead.
Overall, Manziel went 10-18 with 80 passing yards and was sacked three times. The Browns' running game did not do any better as the team had 53 rushing yards. They also completed only one of their ten third down conversions.
The Bengals' Andy Dalton did not have a strong day as he went 14-24 with 117 passing yards and an interception. However, Jeremy Hill had a very strong game with 148 rushing yards of of 25 carries. Giovani Bernard also had 79 rushing yards. The Bengals' 244 rushing yards were more than twice the 107 total yards of offense that the Browns could get.
This loss dropped the Browns to 7-7 and knocked them out of the playoff picture. Meanwhile, this led the Bengals to a 9-4-1 record. They are half a game ahead of Baltimore and Pittsburgh in the AFC North. Those two teams also hold the two AFC wild card spots.