Dec 14, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill (32) runs on Cleveland Browns strong safety Donte Whitner (31) during the second quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Marvin Lewis was right about one thing: the Cincinnati Bengals needn’t have worried too much about Johnny Manziel in his debut as an NFL starting quarterback. With the division lead on the line, Cincinnati marched into FirstEnergy stadium today and dismantled Manziel and the Cleveland Browns, 30-0.
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By halftime, Manziel had already uncorked two interceptions, and the Bengals were sailing in all phases of the game, heading to the locker room with a 20-0 lead. Though the rookie managed to hang on to the football the rest of the way, he finished 10-18 for just 80 yards and, obviously, no touchdowns. It was a rough day for a guy who already had his doubters and was trying to firmly wrestle the starting job from Brian Hoyer.
Manziel’s counterpart on the Bengals, the beleaguered Andy Dalton, didn’t fare much better. On the day, Dalton completed just 14 of 24 passes for 117 yards and no TDs. He also through an interception and was sacked twice for a composite 14-yard loss. Thanks to a grinding Bengals ground game, though, neither QB was much of a factor this afternoon.
Named the featured back earlier in the week, rookie Jeremy Hill turned in another huge performance, rumbling for 148 yards and two TDs on 25 carries. New number-two back (and former number-one) Gio Bernard didn’t let rotation status affect him much, as he ran 15 times for 79 yards and picked up another 24 on four catches. To round out the backfield, and just for good measure, Rex Burkhead punched in a 10-yard run for six points in the fourth quarter.
With the win, the Bengals maintain their half-game lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens, who both won today.