Rams looking for first pre-season win

(SportsNetwork.com) - With "the decision" finally made, the Cleveland Browns will get back to work in preparation for Week 1 of the NFL season when they host the St. Louis Rams in preseason action.

Brian Hoyer was named the Browns' starting quarterback to begin the season on Wednesday, winning the job over high-profile rookie Johnny Manziel.

"We've maintained all along that if it was close, I would prefer to go with the more experienced player," said first-year coach Mike Pettine. "Brian has done a great job in the meeting rooms and with his teammates on the practice field and in the locker room."

Hoyer started each of the Browns' first two preseason games. He completed 6- of-14 passes for 92 yards in the opener against Detroit and was just 2-of-6 for 16 yards this past Monday in a 24-23 setback against Washington.

Manziel, selected with the 22nd overall pick in May's draft, threw for 63 yards on 7-of-11 passing in the first preseason game against the Lions. He was 7-of-16 for 65 yards with a touchdown on Monday, but was also sacked three times.

"It's obviously disappointing," said Manziel after practice Wednesday. "I didn't play terrible (in the first two preseason games), but I made strides. If I would have done better in the last two weeks, it would have been different outcome. I'm going to continue to give it my all every day."

The 21-year-old Manziel hasn't shown much maturity and his latest escapade resulted in a $12,000 fine for giving the Washington bench the middle finger during Monday's preseason game.

"I get words exchanged throughout the entirety of the game, every game, week after week, and I should've been smarter," Manziel said. "It was a 'Monday Night Football' game and cameras were probably solid on me, and I just need to be smarter about that. ... It's there, and it's present every game, and I just need to let it slide off my back and go to the next play."

The Rams are still looking for their first exhibition victory after falling to Green Bay last week, 21-7.

Sam Bradford, playing for the first time since tearing his ACL last October, completed 9-of-12 passes for 101 yards and a touchdown, including a 41-yard strike to Brian Quick.

Rookie defensive end Michael Sam, who was the first openly-gay player drafted in the NFL, didn't see any action until the second half for St. Louis but did finish with two tackles and a sack.

Worse than the loss for the Rams, however, was the fact that the team lost running back Isaiah Pead, who will miss the season after tearing the ACL in his left knee while running back a kickoff in the first quarter.

This contest will be the 29th preseason meeting between the Rams and Browns with St. Louis holding a slim 14-13-1 advantage in the series.


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