Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

McCown Executes Flawlessly, Manziel Improves

Josh McCown and Johnny Manziel both moved the team for touchdowns in the first preseason game. The Redskins beat the Browns 20-17.

CLEVELAND—With 18 players in street clothes, much of the attention was on the Browns quarterbacks in the first preseason game.

Similarly to the scrimmage in Columbus, Josh McCown's night was short, but efficient as he finished with a quarterback rating of 133.8.

McCown received just one series but he made the most of it as he led the Browns on a nine play, 75-yard drive for a touchdown, capping the drive with a two-yard pass for the score to Travis Benjamin after escaping the pocket on the rush.

“It was awesome,” McCown said. “To come out and be in the stadium and be on this side of the field for once, feeling the energy of the fans, it was fun. It was a really good environment to play football in, for sure. Nice night.”

 McCown’s first pass was an eight-yard completion to Benjamin. He then threw a 12-yard completion to Brian Hartline to the 49.

“It was a lot of fun,” Hartline said. “Josh was moving around. We were getting the ball and running the ball well. We were dinking and dunking, we were getting some first downs and to come away with points is always a good drive so it was a good start for us.”

The biggest play on the drive occurred on the next play as McCown attempted to hit Benjamin deep, but Chris Culliver ran into him and drew a pass interference penalty that resulted in a 35-yard pick up and first down to the Redskins’ 16.

McCown hit back-to-back passes to Hartline and Taylor Gabriel to the three. After Isaiah Crowell was stopped for a one-yard gain, McCown rolled out and hit Benjamin wide open in the corner of the end zone.

McCown finished 5-of-5 for 33 yards and a touchdown. On his first drive in the Orange & Brown scrimmage, McCown led the offense for a touchdown going 3-of-4 for 72 yards and a touchdown.

“Flip (offensive coordinator John DeFilippo) called an excellent game,” McCown said. “He had a great game plan and we thought at walkthrough and the things we talked about were just with a new coordinator you don’t know exactly what they are going to do.

“To come out and just worry about us and how we execute things, I was really proud of that of our guys,” he said. “Everybody just went about our business the way we have throughout training camp, and we were able to move the ball down the field and score.”

Johnny Manziel entered the game for the final play of the first quarter starting on the Browns 27 with the starters still in the game.

After a three-and-out with a batted down pass, Manziel was able to get it going after the Browns forced a fumble on the ensuing punt. Marlon Moore hit Andre Roberts and Johnson Bademosi recovered on the Redskins 36.

After a short run, Manziel hit Hartline for 14 yards to the 18. He then threw a swing pass to Crowell for six yards to the 12.

On third-and-four, Manziel dropped back and broke up the middle, made a good move on a defender and ran to the left corner of the end zone for the score from 12- yards out to give the Browns a 14-3 lead with 11:10 left in the first half.

On the drive, Manziel was 2-of-2 for 20 yards and one rush for 12 yards, including the touchdown.

Manziel was 3-of-4 for 16 yards on his next series that resulted in a punt. Manziel’s fourth series started with just 35 seconds left in the half and resulted in just one-of-2 for two yards and finished with a sack.

Manziel started the second half and had one series and had a three-and-out. Manziel picked up a fumbled snap and gained two yards and then threw incomplete to Shane Winn on third down.

Manziel finished 7-of-11 for 42 yards with a long of 14 yards. He rushed twice for 14 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown. He also was sacked once.

All in all, McCown is clearly in control at quarterback, but Manziel continues to make progress.


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