Johnny Manziel finally got some action in a game this weekend — except it was as a wide receiver. And it didn’t actually count in the end.
The Browns got their trick play on in a chokerrific loss to the Ravens on Sunday. And of course they employed Manziel to do so.
The Heisman Trophy-winning rookie came off the bench for a read-option play — no different than the Wildcat honestly — but the trick play actually came on the following snap. Manziel trotted off the field as starting QB Brian Hoyer returned under center. But it was actually a ruse. Manziel stayed on the very edge of the field, seemingly talking with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.
But when Hoyer took the snap, Shanahan motioned to Manziel to take off, and the starter found Manziel streaking down the sideline for a 37-yard completion.
Unfortunately, the play was flagged for illegal motion as rookie running back Terrance West shifted in the backfield and did not come set before the snap.
Of course, it should also be pointed out the play probably should’ve been flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct even though it was not. The rulebook states a penalty flag should be thrown for “using entering substitutes, legally returning players, substitutes on sidelines, or withdrawn players to confuse opponents, including lingering by players leaving the field after being replaced by a substitute and an offensive player lining up or going in motion less than five yards from the sideline in front of his team’s designated bench area.”
That pretty much describes exactly what Manziel was doing.
You see a similar thing happen sometimes on fake field goals, but it’s not a penalty if the player lining up by the sideline isn’t near the team bench.
Anyway, it was fun to watch at least. And it’s nice to get Manziel some airtime. He’s probably lonely out of the spotlight.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports. He just spent a half hour watching fake field goal highlights in the YouTube vortex. Oops.