Manziel solid in debut


DETROIT — Johnny Manziel showed off some of his fancy footwork, and the Cleveland rookie looked sharp with his arm too in his preseason debut, although the Browns lost to the Detroit Lions 13-12 on Saturday night.

Manziel entered the game as a backup in the middle of the second quarter, and although he couldn’t take his team to the end zone, he did go 7 of 11 for 63 yards, completing one more pass than starting quarterback Brian Hoyer. Manziel also ran for 27 yards on six carries, including a 16-yard scramble in the third quarter.

Matthew Stafford led the Lions to a field goal on his only drive of the game. Star receiver Calvin Johnson didn’t play.

Cleveland receiver Nate Burleson, who played in Detroit the last four seasons, also sat out this game.

Detroit’s Kellen Moore threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Corey Fuller with 1:05 remaining in the game, and Giorgio Tavecchio made the long extra point to give the Lions the one-point win.

There was a buzz surrounding this preseason game because of Manziel’s debut, and the former Heisman Trophy winner took the field with 7:32 remaining in the first half, drawing a few cheers but also plenty of boos from the Detroit crowd. Amid a fair number of camera flashes at Ford Field, Manziel took the snap and immediately completed a 6-yard pass toward the left sideline to Anthony Armstrong.

But the Lions stuffed the Cleveland quarterback on what looked like a read option on third down, ending that drive.

Billy Cundiff gave Cleveland a 9-6 lead with a 41-yard field goal early in the third quarter. On his next drive, Manziel dropped back on third-and-8, then took off up the middle, finding plenty of open space for a 16-yard run that was the longest by a Cleveland player on the night.

Manziel later outran the Lions to the sideline to pick up a first down on fourth-and-1, but the drive ended when Dion Lewis fumbled inside the Detroit 30.

Cundiff kicked four field goals for the Browns, and rookie Nate Freese made two for the Lions. Detroit was playing its first preseason game under new coach Jim Caldwell, and the offense did little to impress with Stafford barely playing. Backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky went 12 of 23 for 89 yards.

Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon played while awaiting word from the NFL on his appeal of a possible suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. He caught two passes for 32 yards. Hoyer went 6 of 14 for 92 yards.

Rookie tight end Eric Ebron, Detroit’s first-round pick, played after missing some practice time during the week with an injury. He caught one pass.

TITANS 20

PACKERS 16

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Jackie Battle scored on a 7-yard touchdown run with 5:02 left, and the Titans rallied to beat the Green Bay Packers 20-16 Saturday night in Ken Whisenhunt’s coaching debut in Tennessee.

Rookie Zach Mettenberger made up for two turnovers in the fourth quarter by completing all three passes for 71 yards to set up Battle’s go-ahead touchdown for Tennessee’s first lead in a preseason opener played mostly in a pouring rain.

With quarterbacks having trouble holding onto the ball, Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy had to feel good about his pregame decision to scratch not only Aaron Rodgers but also Eddie Lacy along with eight other Packers.

Davante Adams fumbled a punt in the first quarter that led to the Titans’ first touchdown, a 13-yard run by Shonn Greene who’s had two arthroscopic surgeries in the past year. Rookie Bishop Sankey caught a 5-yard TD pass from Charlie Whitehurst.

The biggest cheer of the game came early in the second quarter, when rain finally eased up for the first time in nearly two hours. But heavy rain returned late in the first half and stuck around most of the third quarter.

Matt Flynn started for Rodgers and was 5 of 10 for 49 yards playing most of the first half. He left with the Packers leading 7-6 thanks to James Starks’ TD capping the opening drive. Starks played only the first series in place of Lacy, and he finished with six carries for 49 yards.

Whisenhunt brought in defensive coordinator Ray Horton, who’s using a hybrid 3-4 scheme, and he couldn’t be too happy even with the sloppy conditions. The Titans, who pulled their defensive starters after the Packers’ second offensive series, allowed 90 yards rushing in the first half.

Jake Locker played only the first quarter and was 1 of 2 for 5 yards. He bobbled a snap, though he recovered. He could have left with the score tied except Maikon Bonani missed the extra point after Shonn Greene’s 13-yard TD run.

Charlie Whitehurst took over for the first series of the second quarter with rookie Taylor Lewan, the No. 11 draft pick overall, taking over at left tackle for veteran Michael Roos.

Flynn was 5 of 10 for 49 yards playing most of the first half.

GIANTS 20

STEELERS 16

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Rashad Jennings had a 73-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and Curtis Painter’s scoring pass with 2:50 left gave the Giants a victory over Pittsburgh.

Howard Jones had given the Steelers a 16-13 lead when he picked up backup quarterback Ryan Nassib’s fumble and went 28 yards for a touchdown with 10:16 to go.

But Painter led a 12-play, 80 yard drive and threw a 3-yard scoring pass to Corey Washington for the victory.

Eli Manning played four series and didn’t complete a pass in two attempts for the Giants. They opened the preseason last week with a 17-13 win over Buffalo in the Hall of Fame.

Ben Roethlisberger played only one series for the Steelers (0-1). He was 1 of 2, with a 46-yarder to rookie third-round pick Dri Archer to the Giants 14.

CARDINALS 32

TEXANS 0

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Carson Palmer was 5 for 5 for 84 yards and a touchdown in his only series and Arizona spoiled Bill O’Brien’s first game as Houston’s coach.

Ryan Fitzpatrick had a rough debut as Houston’s quarterback. Playing the entire first half, he completed 6 of 14 passes for 55 yards with two interceptions as the Cardinals took a 20-0 lead at the break.

Arizona rookie Logan Thomas played the entire second half, completing 11 of 12 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown.

The Texans were without wide receiver Andre Johnson, running back Arian Foster and cornerback Johnathan Joseph — all nursing minor injuries.

 

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