ReFo: Bengals @ Browns, Week 15

With a look at Johnny Manziel's first start, Mike Mountford sorts out the rest of the game's noteworthy performances.

| 3 years ago

ReFo: Bengals @ Browns, Week 15

2014-REFO-WK15-CIN@CLEThe win by the Cincinnati Bengals over the Cleveland Browns all but eliminates the Browns from the playoff race, while it puts the Bengals one win away from making the playoffs and in pole position for the AFC North title. The Bengals won this game in dominating fashion and ruined the first start for Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel.

Cincinnati Bengals – Performances of Note

Kevin Zeitler, G: +5.4

Breakdown: Since Kevin Zeitler entered the league in 2012 he has been an above average guard. Against the Browns he showed what he could be if he takes the next step. Zeitler’s biggest strength was his blocking in space against the linebackers, as he was able to consistently seal the hole at the second level.

Signature Stat: Logged the highest single-game grade of his career. Prior to this week, Zeitler had never graded above +4.0.

Andy Dalton, QB: -4.3

Breakdown: While everyone will be talking about the struggles of Manziel, the Bengals had their own issue at quarterback as the Andy Dalton rollercoaster hit another dip this week. Dalton struggled with passes over 10 yards where he completed just two of 10 for 26 yards, an interception, and also saw another interception dropped by Joe Haden.

Signature Play: Q2, 6:36 remaining. Dalton attempts to hit Ryan Hewitt on a seam route but he fails to put enough on the pass, which allows Craig Robertson to pick it off.

Jeremy Hill, RB: -1.8

Breakdown: Jeremy Hill’s box score numbers look good as he gained 148 yards on 25 carries. However, he fumbled the ball twice and his second will give coaches and fans a cause for concern as it took but a slight hit on the ball to cause the turnover.

Signature Stat: A total of 38.5% of Hills yards came on three runs over 15 yards.

Cleveland Browns – Performances of Note

Joel Bitonio, LG: +2.4

Breakdown: The Cleveland Browns look like they have found their left guard of the future as Joel Bitonio is not just performing at a high level for a rookie, but he’s the second-highest graded guard this season. Against the Bengals, Bitonio only allowed one hurry and even though the running game struggled, he was able to consistently seal his defender.

Signature Stat: Since Week 9 Joel Bitonio leads all guards (who qualify) in Pass Blocking Efficiency of 99.4. with only two total pressures allowed over the past seven weeks.

Paul Kruger, OLB: +1.5

Breakdown: In a game where the Browns’ defense was overmatched from the first drive, the one good performance came from Paul Kruger. Kruger was unable to make his presents felt as a run defender, however as a pass rusher he was able to record four total pressure on just 20 pass rushing snaps.

Signature Stat: Kruger had the third-highest Pass Rushing Productivity for all 3-4 outside linebackers at 19.1, behind only Dan Skuta and Clay Matthews

Johnny Manziel, QB: -5.0 

Breakdown: With the football world looking on and expecting fireworks, they were given, simply, a poor performance from a rookie quarterback. Manziel struggled to find his rhythm early and had trouble dealing with pressure from the Cincinnati defense, as he completed one of seven passes for 19 yards with the rush closing in.

Signature Play: Q2, 11:30 remaining. Andrew Hawkins is running a crossing route form right to left. Manziel waits to pass until Hawkins is passed the numbers on the left side of the field, allowing Dre Kirkpatrick time to undercut and intercept it.

PFF Game Ball

As the Bengals’ ground game was the only productive bit of offense from either team, the PFF Game Ball goes to Kevin Zeitler for his contribution.


Follow Michael on Twitter: @PFF_MikeM

  • Jason Williams

    Sigh. Cleveland. My only hope is that Manziel craters so badly over the next two weeks that the Browns put all their QB’s in taxis out of town and start over next year.

    With a competent QB, this team is a contender.

  • Chris
    • Riffle,Rod&Fly

      LOL! Yeah, well they’re smart enough to know what was coming. I feel bad for the Browns fans, but do not mind where the team is in the division! Long live the Haslam era!

      • Football

        I’ll never feel sorry for Cleveland’s garbage fanbase

        • Riffle,Rod&Fly

          I admire their passion and commitment. The garbage resides in Baltimore now. Their passion shines the brightest when defending one of the team’s goons from his latest criminal offense.

  • Chris

    The truth is read-option offenses in college are vastly overrating some/a lot/most of the QB prospects. These guys are running single read systems with zone-read action on every play. These systems allow them to both use their athletic ability and make quick simple decisions.

    The problem is in the NFL everyone is athletic so most of these guys don’t stand out anymore. And what does a guy from a single read system do when he suddenly has DBs who can cover his primary? Panic, pull the ball down and scramble too often, throw passes across their body into tight coverage anyway.

    Read-option offenses vastly overrated MOST of the QBs coming out lately. Arm talent and the ability to read a defense/run an offense makes NFL QBs, not the ability to rush for 1000 yards in college.

    This guy is RG3 2.0.

    • Riffle,Rod&Fly

      I agree with you on the read-option vs NFL. I’m not sure that this is news though. Typically scouts take that into account and draft accordingly. Lots of guys drop because they are not coming from an “Pro Style” offense”. Arm Strength is probably one of the most overrated attributes for QBs coming into the NFL.

      I disagree to any comparison to RG3. RG3 can throw a long ball with the best of them, he’s a poor decision maker who holds it too long and has uneasy feet in the pocket- kind of like a Cutler 0.5.

      Manziel is Tebow-esque in almost every way, including the way he won in college and the hype surrounding him coming out. Unlike Tebow, his character was questionable. This is conjecture, but I think his overrated draft spot was largely the result of a PR campaign and some carefully timed interest expressed by Jerry Jones.

  • Riffle,Rod&Fly

    I actually thought Hoyer was pretty good and was surprised by the change. His recent slump wasn’t all on him. There has been more good than bad out of Hoyer if you include last year. Admittedly, I’ve never thought much of Manziel. I just see a small Tim Tebow with character issues. Tebow should be starting if Manziel is a legit NFL QB.

  • Football

    Johnny Arena League football is a better benchwarmer than quarterback

  • Danny


  • Danny

    Football goes to my

    • Football

      STFU Johnny

  • Danny

    We date

  • Christian Giaconi-Bonaguro

    Hill never lost a fumble.
    If you’re the one who did the grades, you need to get better because you made a ton of mistakes, not just on Hill but on a good 5-6 guys.

    • Riffle,Rod&Fly

      Yeah, what is the deal PFF?

  • Ryan

    Kruger has presents? That is nice of him.

    • Riffle,Rod&Fly

      He’s more Freddy than Santa.