Johnny Manziel's performance in Pittsburgh, graded pass-by-pass

Each of Johnny Manziel's 45 pass attempts on Sunday afternoon against the Pittsburgh Steelers, graded from A+ to F.

Johnny Manziel: Pass-by-Pass vs. Pittsburgh

Final Grades: 

A+: 3 Throws (7%)

A: 9 Throws (20%)

A-: 9 Throws (20%)

B+: 4 Throws (9%) 

B: 6 Throws (13%)

B-: 4 Throws (9%) 

C+: 3 Throws (7%) 

C: 4 Throws (9%)

C-: 1 Throws (3%)

D: 1 Throws (3%) 

A-Range: 47% (21 of his 45 throws)

B-Range: 31% (14 of his 45 throws)

C-Range: 19% (8 of his 45 throws)

D-Range: 3% of (1 of his 45 throws) 

Final Statistics: 33-45, 372 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 95.8 QB Rating

Pass-By-Pass Analysis

1. 2nd and 9

Manziel nearly picked off on a passed tipped by Isaiah Crowell. Ball was late and behind Crowell, luckily incomplete.

Grade: D

2. 3rd and 11

Manziel with a bullet to Travis Benjamin after going through his progressions and rolling to his left. Nice job by Manziel rolling and making an accurate throw for a 61-yard gain. 

Grade: A-

3. 2nd and Goal

Manziel looking through his progressions again, rolling out again, but this time can’t connect with Hartline. Threw it hard on purpose, as it bounced off Hartline’s hands. Dangerous throw but not a poor one. 

Grade: C

4. 3rd and Goal 

Manziel with a nice throw to Benjamin while rolling left, but it was short of the goal line. It’s hard to blame Manziel for Benjamin not getting in the end zone, while he did a nice job of giving his receiver a chance. 

Grade: B-

5. 2nd and 11

Manziel can’t find Hartline on an iffy pass that flies by the receiver. Not a terrible throw, but not a great one either. 

6. 1st and 10

Manziel with a quick pass to the left for a four-yard gain to Benjamin. Accurate, timely, but nothing too special. 

Grade: B

7. 2nd and 6

Manziel with a nearly identical throw to the one before it, but this time, it’s to Duke Johnson. Again, accurate and timely, but not special. 

Grade: B

8. 2nd and 17

Manziel to the right on a quick throw to Duke Johnson. Nice job staying in the pocket, making an accurate throw, by Manziel. 

Grade: B-

9. 3rd and 14

Manziel with a beautiful dart to Brian Hartline for a first down. 17-yard gain on a dart from the pocket, in which he stepped up and made an accurate throw to Hartline on a big third down play. Nicest throw of the game thus far. 

Grade: A

10. 1st and 10

Manziel rolled right and sought out Hartline again, but this throw was a little less accurate, falling incomplete. Hartline was open, but he simply put too much on it. 

Grade: C

11. 2nd and 10

Manziel to Hawkins for a quick hit to the right, but the throw was a little high. Hard to blame Manziel with the stature of Hawkins, but a bette throw probably gets him a bigger gain. 

Grade: C+

12. 3rd and 11

Manziel with a screen pass to Duke Johnson, who does the majority of the work. Not a bad throw by any means, and he did a nice job of letting the play develop, but nothing worthy of a great grade here. 

Grade: B

13. 2nd and 14

Manziel finds Barnidge for a big gain on second down. Again, a nice throw and a nice job of getting a big gain for first-down yardage. 

Grade: B

14. 1st and 10

Manziel from the gun, stays in the pocket and delivers an accurate strike to Barnidge for a short gain. This is Manziel doing a better job of taking what he’s being given, and delivering an accurate throw for a first-down gain.

Grade: A-

15. 1st and 10

Manziel with a similar throw to Barnidge, who’s made himself quit the target today. Manziel continues to find his guy quickly and deliver quick, accurate strikes. 

Grade: B

16. 1st and 10

Manziel with a fantastic throw from the pocket to Andrew Hawkins on a slant. Had his guy from the beginning and hit him in stride. Of course, Hawkins fumbled, but that has little to do with Hawkins. 

Grade: A

17. 3rd and 10

Manziel from deep in the end zone just tried to get one down the field to Travis Benjamin, but coverage was there. He simply tried to do something to get the Browns out of their own end zone and did a nice job of keeping it out of the reach of a defender, though it fell incomplete and out-of-bounds. 

Grade: B-

18. 1st and 10

Manziel with a play-action fake, rolls right and delivers a strike to Travis Benjamin.  A nice play call to get Manziel out of the pocket and into open space, so he can deliver a great pass to an open Travis Benjamin.

Grade: A-

19. 2nd and 17

Manziel from the shotgun delivers a beautiful quick-strike pass to Brian Hartline for a first down. Again, a fantastic example of “taking what you’re given” and made a fantastic read. 

Grade: A

20. 3rd and 2

Manziel again from the gun, stays in the pocket and delivers another accurate strike to Barnidge for a first down. Very decisive in his decisions to this point and great in terms of arm-strength. 

Grade: A-

21. 3rd and 18

Manziel in another bad situation in terms of yardage, but finds Barnidge on a quick strike again. He’s doing a nice job of reading the defense and taking what he’s given. An accurate quick throw, though it just six yards short of a first down. 

Grade: A-

22. 1st and 10

Manziel from the gun with yet another quick strike, this time to Andrew Hawkins on the right. A repeat of plenty of the aforementioned throws.


Grade: A

23. 1st and 10

Manziel with a play-action fake, which allows Manziel to roll right and deliver a strike to Brian Hartline for another first down. It’s obvious that Manziel is great when out of the pocket and it’s showing thus far. 

Grade: A

24. 1st and 10

Manziel dumps it off to Isaiah Crowell for five yards on first down. A better decision than a throw, but both were solid. 

Grade: B+

25. 2nd and 5

Manziel, from the gun, delivers a beautiful strike to Andrew Hawkins for a first down. Stayed in the pocket, set his feet, and put his powerful arm behind his third-straight first down throw. That throw was almost identical to his first-down strike to Brian Hartline in the first quarter. 

Grade: A+

26. 2nd and 4

Manziel throws it into the dirt by Travis Benjamin, after being chased around by Pittsburgh defenders. Stayed in the pocket for a bit, but had nothing down the field, forcing him to roll out and just toss it away. 

Grade: C+

27. 3rd and 4

Manziel tosses a screen pass to Duke Johnson for a first down. A better play call than a throw, but it was executed well, nonetheless. 

Grade: B-

28. 1st and 10

Manziel stands in the pocket and delivers a strike to Travis Benjamin on a slant. A beautiful throw and catch that gave the Browns a very manageable 2nd and 2.

Grade: A

29. 3rd and 5

Manziel, again, does a nice job of staying in the pocket and delivering a quick strike to Brian Hartline over the middle for a first down. A nice throw to get the Browns closer to the end zone. 

Grade: A

30. 2nd and GL

Manziel is now making a trend of making great throws on short passes to shorten the distance between the sticks. This time, he receives the snap, gets pressure, but throws a dart to Andrew Hawkins over the middle for a short gain. 

Grade: A-

31. 3rd and GL

Manziel with another nice job of taking what he’s given, as he finds Hawkins from the pocket, over the middle, to get the ball closer to the end zone on 4th and goal. 

Grade: B+

32. 4th and GL

Manziel tries to stay in the pocket, but is flushed right, makes an iffy decision to throw the ball back over the middle and it’s intercepted. That being said, on fourth down and needing to score, Manziel had to put the ball in the end zone and had little else to do. A holding penalty would’ve called the play back in any case, so the play is essentially a wash. 

Grade: C

33. 2nd and 5

Manziel with a beautiful toss for an over-the-shoulder catch by Gary Barnidge for 6. It wasn’t a long throw, but it was a fantastic decision with perfect placement for the first TD of the day for the Browns. It was a one-step fade route to the right, executed to perfectin. 

Grade: A+

34. 1st and 10

Manziel, from the gun, stays in the pocket and delivers a strike to Travis Benjamin on a short crossing route. Again, nothing special, but he took what the defense gave him. 

Grade: B

35. 2nd and 8

Manziel finds Hartline wide open to the left, after scanning the field, for a 22-yard gain. Nice job by Manziel going through his options, setting his feet and making a strong, accurate throw to his receiver for a first down. 

Grade: A-

36. 1st and 10

Manziel delivers a strike to Taylor Gabriel for a big gain, but it’s a little high— remember, Gabriel is very small. It was a great decision and a great throw by Manziel for yet another first down. 

Grade: A

37. 1st and 10

Manziel stands in the pocket, from the shotgun, and goes through his progressions before finally finding Travis Benjamin on a beautiful pass to the right that flies just past the finger tips of a Pittsburgh defender. Again, a great job of setting his feet and delivering a strong-armed strike for a first down. 

Grade: A-

38. 1st and 10

Manziel tried to get another quick strike, but this was probably his worst decision of the day. He tossed it to Taylor Gabriel, but a defender was right there. He was lucky to have not been intercepted. 

Grade: C-

39. 2nd and 10

Manziel feels the pressure up the middle but stays in the pocket and makes a throw over the middle. It sails over the head of Gary Barnidge in the end zone and brings the Browns back to third down. Manziel faded backwards on the throw, likely due to the pressure, which forced the ball upwards and just out of the reach of Barnidge. 

Grade: C+

40. 3rd and 15

Manziel is flushed out of the pocket, thanks to a ton of pressure, and makes an awkward throw to Brian Hartline, who makes a great catch. Though the throw was a little risky, it got to where it needed to go. If they were up in the game, it wouldn’t be an advised throw, but down by 21 late in the fourth quarter, there’s no sense in not trying. 

Grade: B+

41. 4th and 6

Manziel with another quick-strike slant to the left to Taylor Gabriel, who holds on for the first down, despite being annihilated by Will Allen on the play. A very good, accurate throw by Manziel, and a good decision as well, but Gabriel wouldn’t make it back to the game after that hit. 

Grade: B+

42. 1st and GL

Manziel with a nice throw to Brian Hartline in the end zone that only he could catch, but he wasn’t able to bring it down. It had the touch and the accuracy, but Hartline could only get a hand on it. 

Grade: A-

43. 2nd and GL

Manziel with a beautiful, touchdown throw to Travis Benjamin on a slant… but the receiver drops the ball, as it hits him in the chest on the goal line. Manziel got absolutely zero help from his receiver, as he should’ve picked up his second touchdown of the game. 

Grade: A+

44. 3rd and GL

Manziel gets the snap and delivers a fade route to the back corner of the end zone, but no one is home. Probably a miscommunication on some level, but Benjamin made little effort to cross the goal line, much less get to the corner of the end zone. 

Grade: C

45. 4th and GL

Manziel flushed out of the pocket and forced to roll left, where he delivers a beautiful pass to a covered Gary Barnidge. Though he placed the ball where only Barnidge could get to it, the tight end couldn’t haul it in. Probably a better throw than a decision here, but either way, not good enough for a touchdown. 

Grade: A

Overall: A-

This was by-far Manziel's best game as a professional, as evidenced by both the numbers and the grades above. He not only was able to do the things for which he's known-- rolling out, throwing on the run, having a flair for the spectacular play-- but he was also able to take what the defense gave him, making quick, accurate throws and reads throughout the game. Of course, with his team's back to the wall for most of the afternoon, Manziel did make a couple of risky plays, but only one turned out to hurt his numbers. In any case, if he can put together these types of games throughout the rest of the season, the Browns may actually need to put stock into the idea that Manziel could be the man in Cleveland, at least heading into next season. 

For all of your Browns news and updates from Berea, follow Hayden Grove on Twitter: @H_Grove.


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