by MARIAH THOMPSON Section Editor
Johnny Manziel’s first start as Cleveland Browns’ quarterback on Sunday, December 14, 2014 in their game against the Cincinnati Bengals was disappointing, to say the least.
As a big fan of Manziel, I expected big things from him in his first NFL start; sadly, I was let down by the 22-year-old.
During the whole game, Manziel only completed 10 of 18 passes, and, of those 10, he only totaled 80 yards. He kept the ball five times, and earned 13 yards. He was also sacked three times and threw two interceptions.
It was hard to watch, to put it lightly.
Sophomore Nicole Cardinalli said, “I was hoping Johnny Manziel would come out and be a great quarterback like he was in college. But then again, college football and the NFL are two different things and I am sure it is hard to get adjusted with. He is a rookie too, so it is hard to expect a lot from him.”
Manziel and the Browns got shut out 30-0 by the Bengals, dropping their record to 7-7. It ultimately eliminated Cleveland from the playoffs for the 12th year in row.
“It’s tough to come out there and lay an egg like that, and I put a lot of that on me. Yeah, I’m a rookie, but that’s out the window. I needed to play better, and today I didn’t do that,” Manziel said after the game.
Known as “Johnny Football”, Manziel was taunted by Cincinnati throughout the game. One of the quarterback’s most famous celebrations was making money signs to the crowd. I loved watching him do that signature move while he played in college, but in his first NFL start, it got thrown back at him. Many of the Bengals’ players mocked his money sign, and linebacker Rey Maualaga cost his team a 15-yard penalty in the first half for taunting.
Sophomore Megan Sgroi said, “I kind of felt bad when the Bengals were making fun of Johnny like that. It was bad enough that he was playing really poorly, but to get mocked by the other team must have been rough.”
Lineman Wallace Gilberry said that Manziel brought those taunts on himself.
I am a big fan of his celebration, but I was not surprised when I saw Bengals’ players mocking it when the rookie was performing poorly.
Manziel said, “I never felt too overwhelmed out there. It was never too difficult. We just didn’t make plays when they gave them to us to stay on the field.”
Manziel went to college at Texas A&M where he redshirted his first year. Redshirting in college is very common, and means that, for the first year, an athlete practices with the team and dresses for games, but will not play in them. That whole season will not count against the player’s four years of NCAA eligibility, and will end with five academic years.
Manziel started in both the 2012 and 2013 seasons for the team, but decided to go straight to the NFL, skipping his 2014 season.
He was very successful during his college career, becoming the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, an honor to win in college football. In his two-year college career, Manziel had 63 passing touchdowns, 30 rushing touchdowns, and almost 8,000 passing yards.
But Manziel’s NFL experience is showing to be much different than his college one.
Although Manziel’s debut was unpleasant, Browns’ coach Mike Pettine will have him start in their next game against the Carolina Panthers.
Manziel may have been close to last in quarterback rankings, but he will always be number one in my heart.
What did you think of former-Heisman-Trophy-winner Manziel’s starting debut against the Bengals?