Manziel looked like the bust he was in the NFL in first CFL start
|Johnny Manziel (#2) warms up on July 5, when he was with the Tiger-Cats.|
“Johnny Football” is an NFL bust.
It appears he will become a CFL bust judging by his regular season debut on that circuit with the Montreal Alouettes.
The 25-year-old Tyler, Texas product threw four bad interceptions resulting in 24 points for the visiting Hamilton Tiger-Cats in front of a crowd of 18,576 at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium in Montreal.
How bad was the game for the Alouettes?
They fell behind 28-0 with 3:51 remaining in the first quarter. The Tiger-Cats led 38-3 at halftime and cruised to a 50-11 victory.
Manziel has a huge following making Friday’s game a much anticipated one, because he was a college star in the United States for the Texas A & M University Aggies. He won the Heisman Trophy as the most outstanding player for all of U.S. college football for his performance in the 2012 season.
He guided the Aggies to a 41-13 victory over the Oklahoma University Sooners in that season’s Cotton Bowl.
Manziel, who stands 6-feet and weighs 210 pounds, was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the first round and 22nd overall in the 2014 NFL Draft.
In two campaigns with the Browns in 2014 and 2015, Manziel went 2-6 as a starter. Overall, he completed 147-of-258 passes for 1,675 yards, seven touchdowns, seven interceptions and a 74.4 quarterback rating.
To be fair, the Browns have struggled in the NFL for some time with their last .500 or better season coming in 2007, when they were 10-6. With that said, Manziel was plagued by controversies regarding his behavior during his time with Cleveland.
In the early morning hours on Jan. 30, 2016, Manziel was involved in an alleged incident with ex-girlfriend Colleen Crowley in Dallas, Texas. On Feb. 25, 2016, Dallas police said they referred Manziel’s case to a district attorney as a misdemeanor assault/domestic violence allegation.
The Browns released Manziel on March 11, 2016.
|The Alouettes haven’t made the CFL playoffs since 2014.|
Fast forward to May 18 of this year, Manziel signed as a free agent with the Tiger-Cats in an effort to revive his football career. Due to the Tiger-Cats sticking with Jeremiah Masoli as their starting quarterback, Manziel was traded to the Alouettes on July 22.
Manziel and offensive linemen Tony Washington and Landon Rice went to the Alouettes in exchange for Canadian defensive end Jamaal Westerman, receiver Chris Williams and first round selections in the 2020 and 2021 CFL Draft.
In his first CFL start and league action in regular season play on Friday, Manziel had a forgettable night completing 11-of-20 passes for 104 yards, no touchdowns and four aforementioned interceptions. He carried the ball twice for four yards and was pulled after the third quarter.
The Tiger-Cats opened the game with a six-play touchdown drive that covered 79 yards. The march concluded with Masoli hitting receiver Brandon Banks with a 17-yard touchdown pass for a 7-0 lead.
On Montreal’s first series, Manziel’s first CFL pass was an ill-advised throw over the middle that was picked off by Tiger-Cats linebacker Larry Dean. A short 12-yard touchdown drive followed giving Hamilton a 14-0 lead, and it was capped by a one-yard scoring run by running back Alex Green.
The Alouettes proceeded to have a punt blocked on their next series by Tiger-Cats linebacker Curtis Newton. The ball was recovered by Hamilton running back Sean Thomas Erlington and returned 10 yards for a touchdown giving the Tiger-Cats a 21-0 lead.
Montreal’s ship continued to sink. Manziel threw his second bad pass that was intercepted by Tiger-Cats defensive back Jumal Rolle. Following that interception, Hamilton drove 48 yards for another touchdown to go up 28-0. That march was capped when Masoli hit receiver Jalen Saunders for a 21-yard touchdown strike.
The game was effectively over at that point.
Masoli completed 17-of-26 passes for 300 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
To be fair, the Alouettes have struggled for some time last making the post-season and advancing to the East Division Final in 2014. They were 3-15 last season and fell to 1-6 with Friday’s embarrassing loss.
The Tiger-Cats ended a three-game skid improving to 3-4. Under former veteran NFL sideline bosses in head coach June Jones and defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville, the Tiger-Cats have played better than their record indicates.
Slated to now travel to Winnipeg to play the Blue Bombers (4-3) on Aug. 10, the Tiger-Cats recorded another big offensive explosion they had been looking for since downing the Eskimos in Edmonton 38-21 on June 22.
|Jeremiah Masoli won the job as the Tiger-Cats starting QB.|
Being human, you never want to see someone fail and love comeback stories, but it is hard to imagine Manziel pulling the Alouettes out of their doldrums. It is more likely he will become a footnote in this run of Montreal woes.
Things don’t get any easier for the Alouettes. They return to action on Aug. 11 to face the Redblacks (4-3) in Ottawa. The Redblacks are looking to rebound from a heartbreaking 42-41 last second loss to the Argonauts in Toronto on Thursday.
For the Alouettes, the worst is likely yet to come unless they start backup signal caller Vernon Adams Jr.
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