Johnny Manziel says his NFL debut was “a fail”
Manziel threw two interceptions and posted a 27.3 passer rating in his first career start on Sunday.
The 22-year-old rookie tallied just 80 passing yards, tossed two interceptions and managed just 13 rushing yards on five attempts. Not much of anything went right for Manziel, who told media after the game that his performance was “a fail,” although he spoke optimistically about the future.
While Browns head coach Mike Pettine said that Manziel “looked like a rookie, played like a rookie,” the quarterback said that his inexperience isn’t an excuse for his 27.3 passer rating on the day (via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer):
“It’s tough to come out there and lay an egg like that and I put a lot of that on me,” said Manziel. “I’m not using the rookie excuse – it’s not me. Yeah, I’m a rookie but that’s out the window. I needed to play better. I felt coming in to today that I was absolutely prepared for today. Being out there, I never felt overwhelmed or that it was too much for me, but when it comes down to it, football is football. You need to make more plays than the other team and we didn’t do that.”
Compared to the rookie debuts of the other quarterbacks taken in the 2014 NFL Draft, Manziel’s was certainly the worst. Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater, Derek Carr and Zach Mettenberger all managed to post passer ratings over 80 in their first NFL starts.
Still, players like Matt Stafford and Alex Smith have found success after rough debuts, while Troy Aikman and Terry Bradshaw managed to compile Hall of Fame careers after bad starts.
“The best quarterbacks to ever play this game have struggled early,” Manziel said. “It’s tough for a young guy to come in and get accustomed to this league”
“Even the guys who play their best every week come out and struggle at times. As me and (offensive coordinator) Kyle (Shanahan) were sitting there in the late minutes of the game, it was teaching me and helping me learn and understand everything that is going on. It’s going to take time and reps.”
With a loss to the Bengals, the Browns were eliminated from contention for the AFC North crown and are but eliminated from the wild card race as well. The team finishes the year with back-to-back road games against the Carolina Panthers and Baltimore Ravens.