Sunday’s roundup: Manziel’s magic carries Browns to win
Cleveland — Johnny Manziel spun from pressure and heaved the ball for a stunning touchdown, the kind of football magic he created almost every Saturday for Texas A&M.
This is what it felt like back then. And for Manziel, this was the moment he needed now.
“It’s sweet,” he said.
Manziel threw a 60-yard touchdown pass to Travis Benjamin on Cleveland’s second play and connected with his wide receiver again for a clutch 50-yarder with 2:52 left, giving the Browns a 28-14 win over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
Benjamin also returned a punt 78 yards for a TD in the first half as the Browns (1-1) built a 21-0 lead and hung on for just their third home-opening win since 1999.
Starting in place of the injured Josh McCown, Manziel finished 8 of 15 for 172 yards. But it was his final completion, the clinching TD strike to Benjamin that awakened memories of Manziel in college — Johnny Football, the touchdown-making, highlight-a-minute superstar who then fell flat on his face as an NFL rookie.
“It was vintage Manziel,” Browns coach Mike Pettine said. “When a play breaks down that is what he brings.”
Manziel won his Heisman Trophy matchup with Marcus Mariota, who threw two TD passes in the second half for the Titans (1-1), but took a pounding in his second game. The No. 2 overall pick was sacked seven times and needed extra treatment on an injured left ankle afterward.
Mariota finished 21 of 37 for 257 yards. With the Titans down 14 and needing two scores, Mariota, who recorded a perfect passer’s rating last week in his pro debut against Tampa Bay, drove Tennessee inside Cleveland’s 20 but was sacked and stripped by defensive end Armonty Bryant.
“You understand this is a tough league and you can get beat anytime,” Mariota said. “We understood that going in. I could have made a lot more accurate throws and could have been better with the football. But I’ll learn that and get better.”
(At) Green Bay 27, Seattle 17: Aaron Rodgers threw two touchdown passes and Green Bay outlasted Seattle in a rematch of last season's NFC title game.
Rodgers led a 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive, capped by a 5-yard scoring pass to Richard Rodgers, and the 2-point conversion made it 24-17 with 9:28 left.
Jayrone Elliott made a lunging, one-handed interception of a short pass from Russell Wilson with 6:50 left, one of the rare mistakes in the second half for Seattle's dual-threat quarterback. The Packers (2-0) cashed in with one of Mason Crosby's four field goals for a 10-point lead.
The Packers blew a 16-0 lead against the Seahawks (0-2) in the playoffs last year.
New England 40, (at) Buffalo 32: Tom Brady threw for 466 yards — the second-most of his career — and three touchdowns in leading the Patriots.
Julian Edelman scored two touchdowns, and the Patriots needed to stave off a fourth-quarter rally after building a 37-13 lead through three quarters.
“We had a lot of good plays, but I think we left a lot of plays out there,” Brady said. “But it’s great to be 2-0.”
The Patriots (2-0) extended their run of dominance over their AFC East rivals by beating the Bills (1-1) for the 27th time in the past 30 meetings. Brady improved to 24-3 against Buffalo, and his passing yards were the most ever by a Bills opponent.
(At) Washington 24, St. Louis 10: Rookie Matt Jones ran for 123 yards and two touchdowns for Washington.
Jones, a third-round draft pick out of Florida, scored from 39 yards in the first quarter, and from 3 with about 21/2 minutes left in the fourth.
The Redskins (1-1) led 17-0 at halftime, the first time they shut out an opponent in the first half since Oct. 2, 2011, also against the Rams (1-1).
Atlanta 24, (at) N.Y. Giants 20: Julio Jones caught a 37-yard pass from Matt Ryan, setting up Devonta Freeman’s 2-yard touchdown run with 1:14 remaining, lifting the Falcons to their second straight victory.
Jones tied the club record with 13 receptions, good for 135 yards. His biggest catch was down the left sideline behind Prince Amukamara in the final moments, setting up the win.
“Every opportunity that I get, when a ball is thrown at me, I feel like it’s my job to catch it,” Jones said.
“I had 15 targets and I caught 13. I think I did OK. I wish I could have caught all 15.”
The Giants (0-2) blew a 20-10 fourth-quarter lead.
(At) Oakland 37, Baltimore 33: Derek Carr threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Seth Roberts with 26 seconds left to lead the Raiders.
Carr threw for a career-high 351 yards and three touchdowns and went 7 for 9 for 65 yards on the winning drive, aided by a personal foul on Timmy Jernigan and a hold on Will Hill III that negated an interception on the play before the winning touchdown.
Joe Flacco threw for 384 yards and two scores, but just missed an open Steve Smith in the end zone to force Baltimore (0-2) to settle for a field goal before Oakland’s winning drive.
(At) Pittsburgh 43, San Francisco 18: Ben Roethlisberger passed for 369 yards and three touchdowns and DeAngelo Williams tied a team record with three rushing scores for the Steelers.
The Steelers (1-1) converted a pair of 2-point attempts in the first half to seize momentum and had little trouble with the 49ers (1-1).
Antonio Brown (Central Michigan) caught nine passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns for Pittsburgh.
“We’re going to take our shots,” Brown said. “It’s another opportunity to put points on the board.”
Colin Kaepernick threw for 335 yards and two scores for the 49ers.
Tampa Bay 26, (at) New Orleans 19: Jameis Winston passed for a touchdown and ran for another for the Buccaneers.
Winston completed 14 of 21 passes for 207 yards and was not intercepted. He lost one fumble, but the Saints couldn’t cash in, missing a 42-yard field goal. His touchdown pass was a 15-yarder to Vincent Jackson.
“I will never lose confidence. Confidence is who I am,” Winston said.
(At) Carolina 24, Houston 17: Cam Newton threw two touchdown passes and somersaulted into the end zone for a score.
He provided the highlight when he raced up the middle on a draw play and tumbled over defensive back Rahim Moore for a 3-yard TD that put Carolina ahead 17-10 in the third quarter.
“I didn’t stick it, but I think I still got a high rating from the judge,” Newton joked of the landing.
Ryan Mallett, starting in place of Brian Hoyer, threw for 244 yards and a touchdown and ran for a 6-yard TD for the Texans (0-2).
(At) Cincinnati 24, San Diego 19: Andy Dalton threw three touchdown passes for the Bengals.
Dalton’s 9-yard throw to Tyler Eifert put the Bengals (2-0) in control midway through the fourth quarter. San Diego (1-1) set up Cincinnati’s first touchdown with a fumble.
Giovani Bernard had 123 yards rushing for the Bengals.
(At) Jacksonville 23, Miami 20: Rookie Jason Myers kicked a 28-yard field goal with 40 seconds remaining for the Jaguars.
The Jaguars (1-1) took over with 1:48 left, and Blake Bortles put them in field-goal range with pass plays of 18, 19 and 9 yards. They avoided their fourth consecutive 0-2 start.