DETROIT -- Since the midway point of the offseason when rookies were able to compete with veterans, Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel have been in a tight competition to be the starting quarterback of the Cleveland Browns.
And the Browns got their first live look at both quarterbacks in their 13-12 preseason loss to the Detroit Lions at Ford Field Saturday night.
"It was similar to the scrimmage," Browns coach Mike Pettine said after the loss. "They both did some good things. They both did some things that suited their skill set. I think Brian was high on a couple throws, and he'd want those back. I thought Johnny did some nice things from the pocket, and when he got out, he created as well. It's a good learning tape for them finally getting to go against somebody else."
Hoyer played through the first series of the second quarter, and led two scoring drives, as kicker Billy Cundiff booted field goals of 43 and 26 yards, respectively, on the Browns' last drive of the first quarter and first possession in the second.
He completed six of 14 attempts for 92 yards, including a long pass of 28 yards to tight end MarQueis Gray, and later, a 22-yard rope to Pro Bowl wide receiver Josh Gordon, which started an 11-play, 58-yard scoring drive.
"There's a few throws I'd like to have back," Hoyer said. "I've got to put a better ball on those guys and make it more catchable. I don't really chalk it up to nerves. The first one, I threw it up to Josh and my footwork was off. I hitched a little bit too much, but we'll see. I've got to look at the film and correct it. You could always throw a better ball."
Manziel came into the game in the second quarter, and despite being greeted by a chorus of boos from the 51,384 Lions fans, completed seven of his 11 attempts for 63 yards. However, what proved to be most beneficial to the Browns was Manziel's ability to move the ball with his feet.
After going three-and-out on his first drive in the second quarter, Manziel responded by doing what he does best, improvising and making something out of nothing. He was able to scramble for 28 yards on four carries, including a gain of 16 yards on third-and-eight from the 46-yard line, and for one yard on fourth-and-one in a third-quarter drive that was spoiled by a fumble from running back Dion Lewis.
"For me, it was a good start," Manziel said. "You have to start somewhere, and you have to set a foundation. I got my feet wet, got my first preseason game under my belt. Now, we've got three more, and then, we head into the season.
"For me, it's all about getting better, and if I'm the guy that puts this team in the best position to win, then, we'll see what happens, but if it's not, then, I'm here, and at the end of the day, what I want is what's best for the Cleveland Browns. Whichever way I can help this team, that's what I'm all about. It'll work itself out the way it's supposed to."