Johnny Manziel pointed only at himself on Sunday.
Manziel took responsibility for the Cleveland Browns' 17-13 loss to Kansas City and assessed his play in pointedly critical terms.
"Today wasn't good enough," he said.
And: "I'm definitely shouldering a lot for this loss."
And: "I just missed too many throws."
And: "I don't think I was good enough in crunch time [Sunday]. I thought I was extremely subpar and cost us some points."
And so it goes.
Manziel said all that even with his coach praising his competitiveness and his overall effort.
"I'm pretty sour about it right now from a personal standpoint," Manziel said. "Because I think the guys around me played good enough for us to win the game today, and I didn't do enough for them."
Manziel did not have a good day throwing the ball in windy conditions, but he did bring the Browns back with his running. His 108 yards rushing set a Browns record for a quarterback, and combined with a defensive shutout in the second half, he had the Browns down four with two chances to win the game in the final minutes.
Passing, Manziel finished 13-for-32 -- completing just 40.6 percent with no touchdowns and one interception. Those are not winning numbers in the NFL, except that Manziel, in terms of yards, passed for more than Kansas City's Alex Smith, 136-125, and outran him, 108-54.
But Manziel ended one 20-play drive with a fourth-quarter field goal and twice stalled with chances to win. The plays that especially upset him:
A flip, as he was being tackled, to a player he saw with a Browns uniform that turned out to be tackle Mitchell Schwartz. The snap was on second-and-goal at the 8 with the Browns down by seven, and what was ruled an intentional grounding penalty cost the team 10 yards and the down."Just trying to make a play," Manziel said. "I didn't throw it away in time. Saw somebody flash and made a mistake. I had plenty of time and was out of the pocket to throw that ball away. … We gave up points. That was a touchdown drive that we needed."
Second- , third- and fourth-down throws from the Chiefs' 30 on the Browns' next possession."It was not very good execution by me," Manziel said.
The first was on the run and incomplete, the second a tough throw to Gary Barnidge; the third to nobody in the corner of the end zone.
"It was just my fault," Manziel said. "I thought Trav [Travis Benjamin] had a go-ball and Trav had a post."
Manziel pointed out Barnidge would have been the right person to throw to, and he could have gained a first down.
"That's on me," Manziel said.
The final drive, which started at the Browns' 29 with 1:52 left and ended at the Chiefs' 14 as time ran out. Manziel began the drive with no timeouts, and completed 3 of 8 passes with another incompletion on a spike to stop the clock.
Manziel said the coaching staff and the other players put the Browns in position to win, but he let everyone down.
The self-assessment was certainly admirable, but it was also harsh. Manziel had little help, and were it not for his fight and effort in running the ball the Browns would not have been in the game.
He did not throw well, but he did fight through a tough first half to give the Browns a chance to win in the second.
The conventional wisdom for professional quarterbacks is to take the blame in a loss and spread the credit in a win. Manziel did just that -- to the extreme.
But in the four games he's played against winning teams (Pittsburgh, Seattle, Kansas City and Cincinnati), he's scored 10, 9, 10 and 13 points.
The Browns aren't holding him responsible for the 10.5-point average in those games, but Manziel's competitiveness demands better of himself. And that's to his credit. He showed that at game's end, when he slammed his helmet to the turf in frustration at not being able to get one chance in the end zone.
After, Manziel did not want to hear anything about going into Seattle and Kansas City and coming out of it a better player.
"It may be hostile environments," he said, "but we're still 0-and-2, 1-and-2 since I've been back in there."