Berea, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Johnny Manziel will make his first NFL start when the Cleveland Browns host the Cincinnati Bengals this Sunday, head coach Mike Pettine announced Tuesday.
Manziel, one of Cleveland's two first-round picks in the 2014 draft, takes over for struggling veteran Brian Hoyer with the Browns trying to stay alive in the AFC playoff race at 7-6.
Hoyer has started each of the Browns' first 13 games, but has been ineffective in the team's past four outings. He has thrown eight interceptions and just one touchdown pass over that stretch, during which Cleveland has gone 1-3.
Manziel saw his first real action in a relief role two weeks ago in a loss to Buffalo and guided the Browns to their lone touchdown in a 26-10 setback, though Pettine decided to stay with Hoyer for another week. Hoyer completed only 14-of-31 passes for 140 yards and was intercepted twice against Indianapolis on Sunday, however, with Cleveland dealt a potentially costly 25-24 home loss.
"This decision is really not about Brian Hoyer or Johnny Manziel, it is about the Cleveland Browns," Pettine said. "We are always going to make decisions that we feel are in the best interest of the team."
Over 13 games this season, Hoyer has thrown for 3,196 yards with 11 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
"Brian has done everything that has been asked of him and he has done so as a true professional," Pettine said. "It's never just any one position when a unit is not functioning at the level you'd like. We are trying to get the offense to perform at a higher level. Johnny has worked very hard to earn this opportunity and it will be very important for every member of the offense to elevate their play for us to obtain our desired result."
Manziel was 5-of-8 for 63 yards passing and ran for a touchdown against the Bills. He also fumbled.