Dec 13, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine and San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula shake hands following their game at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Browns defeated the 49ers 24-10. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
About The Browns
Let’s not get irrational here about this win. The 49ers are last in the NFL in points per game and last in yards per game, so the defensive performance is something that should have happened. Still, you’ll take the positives when you can get it and a true team win, where both the offense and defense actually show up, has been hard to come by.
Before the fan base goes nutty bananas about “ruining” the Browns’ chance for the top overall pick, the Browns still are tied for the worst record in the league with the Chargers and the Titans. It’s also worth noting that you cannot and should not be upset with a well-played win. Just something to think about, especially when the final three games are at the Seahawks, at the Chiefs (the hottest team in football not based in Carolina), and home against the Steelers. All three of those teams are in the playoff hunt and will have much more on the line than a high draft pick and pride.
Have Mike Pettine and company seen enough of Manziel to invest in his development as an NFL starter? Save for the hideous pass that lead to an interception, Manziel played an excellent game.
If the motivation to start Manziel was to generate trade interest, shame on the front office and this coaching staff. But if the motivation was to actually give Manziel a real shot to prove he can start at quarterback, then this game was a major step forward for the young quarterback.
He was 21 of 31 for 270 yards with one touchdown–hardly a bad stat line for a guy making his sixth career start. But when you roll the film, that stat line looks better when you take into account the way he extended plays with his mobility and handled the blitzes thrown at him by Eric Mangini’s defense.
He showed poise and quick decision making under fire when needed. Yes, Josh McCown has played well enough to start. It’s just at this point in his career, it’s time to look at Manziel as a real option, not just a long term project.
Next: Sunday Superlatives