DETROIT -- Ford Field was not the place to find much clarity in the Cleveland Browns' quarterback competition Saturday night.
After the game, both brought some welcome perspective to the frenzy of instant analysis that follows this job.
Hoyer started and threw for 92 yards, but had a lovely throw dropped by Miles Austin at the 5-yard line and overthrew two open receivers on third-down plays that would have put the Browns inside the Lions' 20.
He said his footwork got messed up on the first, and the second he simply overthrew.
But the pass to Austin was right on the money -- as the Browns receivers not named Josh Gordon did little to calm concerns about what the team will do if he is suspended.
In the would-have, could-have game it could be argued Hoyer’s numbers would have looked much better -- over 100 yards -- had Austin hung on to a ball right in his hands.
But Hoyer said just getting on the field and competing for the first time since his ACL surgery was a step. He pointed out the tempo was good, he was comfortable with the line calls and plays were run quickly. The Browns scored on two of his three drives -- though both were field goals. In a full scrimmage and a game the offense has yet to score a touchdown.
"There's definitely a few throws that I would want to have back and put in a better spot," Hoyer said, "but to have ACL surgery and be back out there playing is definitely a step forward."
Manziel started slowly, got just three plays in the first half, and played better as he grew more comfortable. He finished with 63 yards passing and 27 rushing.
He, too, talked about how it was important for him to get that game speed experience, but he added: "Luckily for me there’s three more games to get out there and learn."
Manziel admitted he had early jitters, but as he settled in he threw better. He said he thought the ball came out well and he had some good throws. He also ran for 27 yards, but said as he grows more comfortable in the offense the number of runs should decrease.
"I feel like the ball came out well tonight," he said. "I’m still working on getting the balls out on time better."
He also said of running: "I want to move the ball down the field."
The game pretty much reinforced what the Browns know about each quarterback. Hoyer will stand in the pocket and make a throw, but he also can roll out when asked to. He’s not a scrambler, but he can buy time and he can step in and make a throw.
Manziel can be far more exciting. He ran 16 yards for a first down and ran to convert a fourth down. He seemed to be gaining a little rhythm as his time on the field ended, and he is very quick when he decides to get going.
Neither was glittering, though, and neither did enough that anyone would step back and say that so-and-so really grabbed hold of the job.
Coach Mike Pettine was noncommittal, but objective analysis would indicate that the Browns will start the practice week on Monday at pretty much the same point they started the preseason opener -- with two guys competing to start but neither really seizing the job.