Monday, September 21, 2015

On The Mark 9.21.15: #Browns v. #Titans Recap

Manziel, Benjamin and the defense shine in Browns to a 28-14 victory over Tennessee Titans
By @MarkW2112

It was the home opener for the Cleveland Browns at First Energy Stadium today. And what a game it was. The Browns beat the Tennessee Titans 28-14 on what was probably one of the most exciting home openers in a long time, thanks to the play of Johnny Manziel, Travis Benjamin and the entire defense.

Manziel, in only his third career start, only completed 8 passes and threw for 158 yards but 115 of those yards were on 2 touchdown passes to Benjamin, one at the start of the game and the other to end it. In between, Benjamin also had a 78 yard punt return for a touchdown, which included a highlight leap over the punter who had fallen to the turf. Benjamin ended the day with 269 total yards from scrimmage. Isaiah Crowell had the other touchdown while rushing for 72 yards on 15 carries.

After having a record breaking game last week, Marcus Mariota came down to earth against the Browns. He was sacked 7 times, hit many more times and was under pressure from the Browns almost the entire game. He was able to settle himself down to throw for 2 touchdowns and get the Titans to within a touchdown with 6 minutes left in the game. The Browns defense, however, was too much for him to recover from a horrible start. He finished 21 of 37 for 257 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Titans rushers, lead by Dexter McCluster's 98, did run for 166 yards but was really not a factor in the game. It was an awesome display of defensive power that was sorely lacking against the New York Jets last week.

My thoughts: It's time for the Browns to give the reigns to Johnny Manziel. While he did lose the ball twice (recovered both times by the Browns), he showed that he has made some leaps and bounds over his disastrous rookie season. His chemistry with Travis Benjamin is apparent. Mike Pettine has the tough job of making the decision to go with the veteran Josh McCown or run with Manziel to see what they have in their young quarterback. The defense made a huge comeback from last week, with 7 sacks, more than any single game last year. Marcus Mariota was not going throw another perfect game 2 weeks in a row and he looked more like a rookie today. That said, his upside is huge and he will be a force for years to come.

Player of the game: Travis Benajmin. He became the first NFL player to have 2 touchdown over 50 yards in one game as well his 78 yard touchdown punt return.

Honorable mentions: Johnny Manziel, with his 2 touchdown passes to Benjamin and his continued growth, and the Browns defense, who harassed Marcus Mariota and the offense more often than not.

Play of the game: Manziel's first touchdown pass to Benjamin in the Browns first offensive position.

Turning point: Manziel's second touchdown pass to Benjamin which clinched the game for the Browns. It was the type of play that he made famous at Texas A&M.

Fun fact: Travis Benjamin is the 1st NFL player with four 50+ yard TDs in first 2 games of a season since Jim Brown in 1963.

Next game: Next Sunday, the 28th, against the Oakland Raiders, at First Energy Field at 1 PM on CBS and The Browns Radio Network.

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