CLEVELAND -- Scrambling for his life, and then, finding an open wide receiver down the field for a big gain, or rushing around end and converting a critical first down before sliding to avoid a hit was a case of Johnny Manziel being Johnny Football.
Whether it was scrambling for a first down, or throwing a pass into a tight window, Manziel did a little bit of everything as the Cleveland Browns earned a 33-13 victory over the Chicago Bears in the fourth, and final, preseason game of the year at FirstEnergy Stadium Thursday night, and his first-year coach, Mike Pettine, wryly said it was just "Johnny being Johnny."
"A couple of those plays were, 'No! No! No! Yes!' but that's what he does," Pettine said. "That, to me, is what he brings to the table. He just needs to get more comfortable in his reads, take the easy throws that are there. He's certainly shown why he has the reputation that he does.
"That was just typical of his playmaking ability. He had a guy open early and didn't get it to him and ended up making a play with his feet and finding I think it was (Nate) Burleson for the completion. I thought he did some good things and played to his strengths. The one thing he does well is he slides well. I think when you run the zone read with him, he can get a chunk of yardage and then, get down. I think that's important. A lot of quarterbacks don't know how to slide, and it's obvious that he does."
The night got off to a rough start for Manziel, as he fumbled twice on his first four plays from scrimmage, and one of those was recovered by the Bears. However, Manziel responded from the mistakes and completed only six pass attempts for 83 yards and one touchdown, a one-yard score to tight end Jim Dray, at the 4:54 mark of the second quarter.
He also ran for 55 yards, including a long run of 22 yards, as well as a 14-yard scamper on the first play of the second half.
"I learned a lot from some little things that I did better," Manziel said. "Today was a big step for me and stuff that I will never get wrong again. I was able to see it, go through it and process it. Then, I was decisive with it, and I knew what I needed to do with it. I feel like I take a big step once I watch the film and see everything to review it.
"Certain little calls within the offense that we do on certain plays that we go through during the walk-through, I see and then, I kind of hesitate on them for a second. Then, when I get into the game, I see that I just have to trust it. I'm getting better on little calls that can help everybody throughout the offense. I've also been able to be more decisive on reads. I think this film will help me to get better a lot."
Midway through the second quarter, Manziel was attempting to move the Browns from their own 20-yard line, when he took a snap in the shotgun formation and ran toward the line of scrimmage after the protection broke down. However, Manziel pulled back and rolled out to his right before rifling a pass toward wide receiver Nate Burleson for a 27-yard gain that set up the one-yard scoring pass to Dray.
"For me, it was just to make a play," Manziel said. "I'm just trying to go through my progressions and I didn't really see a lot. Then, I had to make a play to try and move the ball down the field. I think Nate did a great job of hooking up and finding a spot for me to get him the ball. He kept the drive alive.
"I think we were having a long drive, probably a nine-or 13-play drive, so it kind of gets lost in the jumble, but I know that just going through my progressions that the clock in my head was running out and I needed to get out of there. Luckily, I got a good edge to get out and around to find Nate. I think it was a great job by him abandoning his route to get open, and he really made it a great play."