|Date of game: 12/14/2014
Recap: Cleveland vs. Cincinnati
Cleveland, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - There were plenty of money signs flashed in Sunday's game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns. Not one was made by the player associated with the gesture, Johnny Manziel.
The Cleveland rookie quarterback's first career NFL start was a dud as the Browns were shut out 30-0 by the AFC North-leading Bengals.
Jeremy Hill had 148 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries and Giovani Bernard amassed 79 yards on the ground for the Bengals (9-4-1), who produced points on each of their first four drives and remain a half-game ahead of Baltimore and Pittsburgh in the division standings.
"We're still in control of everything," said Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton. "We got to understand that. We know these next two (games) are gonna be big."
Dalton completed 14-of-24 passes for 117 yards with one interception for Cincinnati, which won its fourth straight road game to tie a club record for the most consecutive wins away from home within a season.
The Browns (7-7), in an effort to keep their fading playoff hopes alive, switched from Brian Hoyer to Manziel to spark the offense. However, the quarterback change didn't have the impact coach Mike Pettine was hoping on Sunday.
Manziel was 10-of-18 for 80 yards with two first-half interceptions. A handful of Cincinnati players flashed the former Heisman Trophy winner's signature money sign to the FirstEnergy Stadium crowd.
"Nobody wants to win (in the locker room) more than I do, and it's tough to come out there and lay an egg like that," Manziel said. "I'm not using the rookie excuse. I needed to play better."
Cleveland, which has lost three in a row, totaled only 107 yards on offense and had six three-and-outs.
Cincinnati scored a touchdown on the game's opening drive after being held to three points and 165 yards by Cleveland on Nov. 6. Dalton, who had a passer rating of 2.0 in the home loss to the Browns, hit A.J. Green on a slant to convert a 4th-and-4 from the Cleveland 32 on a 14-play series that ended with 2-yard touchdown run by Hill.
There was also a rouging-the-passer penalty called on linebacker Barkevious Mingo on a third-down incompletion that extended the drive.
The Bengals went on to build a 20-0 halftime lead. Mike Nugent bookended a 16-yard touchdown run by Hill with a pair of 44-yard field goals.
Cleveland was in field goal range late in the second quarter, but Manziel was picked off in the end zone by Adam Jones.
In the third quarter, Dalton kept it on a 4th-and-1, then completed a 13- yard pass to Bernard on 3rd-and-8 before the drive stalled. Nugent connected from 34 yards to make it 23-0.
Rex Burkhead ran for a 10-yard touchdown with 23 seconds left in the game for Cincinnati's final score.Game Notes
Manziel is Cleveland's 21st starting quarterback since 1999 ... Cleveland
defensive backs Joe Haden (shoulder) and Justin Gilbert (head) both left the
game and did not return ... The Browns had just five first downs ... Green was
targeted 11 times, but caught only five passes for 49 yards.