Browns get the good and bad of Johnny Manziel experience

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Cleveland Browns got the full Johnny Manziel experience in Sunday's 31-10 loss to the New York Jets.

Manziel took over at quarterback early in the second quarter after starter Josh McCown suffered a concussion. Manziel then led the team on a touchdown drive on his first possession, but also had three second-half turnovers -- one by interception, two by fumble.

"Obviously the second half leaves a little bit of a bitter taste in your mouth," said Manziel, who added, "I’m disappointed with the second half, but I thought there were some good things, despite the turnovers."

What started well -- a 54-yard touchdown pass on third-and-19, the first of Manziel’s career -- ended with the offense and Manziel struggling.

He threw an interception in the third quarter that set up a Jets touchdown, then fumbled in the fourth to set up another Jets TD that put New York up 31-10.

"He’s got to be more protective of the ball ... " coach Mike Pettine said. "Overall for coming in cold, he did some good things, but some things he obviously will regret."

Manziel's touchdown came on his second pass, as he connected with Travis Benjamin to give the Browns a 7-0 lead. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last time a Browns quarterback had thrown a touchdown pass on third-and-19 or longer was Week 14 of the 1990 season, when Bernie Kosar hit Eric Metcalf for a 31-yard score on third-and-19 against the Oilers.

"I did some good things, but not enough to really get the job done," Manziel said.

McCown left the game after being simultaneously hit by Jets defenders Calvin Pryor and Demario Davis just short of the goal line after a third-and-goal from the New York 14. Davis' helmet hit the side of McCown's helmet. McCown fumbled on the play, turning a promising opening drive into a turnover as the ball bounced out of the end zone for a touchback.

Pettine said McCown enters the NFL concussion protocol and can return when cleared. Manziel finished 13-of-24 for 182 yards with one touchdown, one interception and two fumbles lost.

In the past week of practice, Manziel was a full participant only on Friday. Manziel was limited Monday, Wednesday and Thursday due to an elbow issue that had sidelined him from Aug. 23 through Sept. 7.

"It was a very difficult situation, and I thought he handled it extremely well," tackle Joe Thomas said.

Amid all the questions about this season opener, about Manziel's ability to play the position in the NFL, amid the turmoil of a difficult rookie season followed by a 10-week stay in rehab, Manziel’s situation comes down to a simple reality: He has the chance to take charge of the position and be the Browns' starting quarterback.

It wasn’t supposed to happen this soon, or this way.

But Manziel's opportunity is here. And now it's up to him to make the most of it.