Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine thought it was going to be easy to bench Johnny Manziel.
After all, with Josh McCown healthy and outplaying Manziel, Pettine was not threatening the team’s chance to win when he demoted his Heisman Trophy winner to third-string quarterback after videos surfaced of Manziel partying yet again.
Now, though, McCown is out for the season after breaking his collarbone Monday night and Pettine needs a quarterback for the final five games. At 2-9, the Browns don’t have anything to play for other than a draft pick, but does Pettine drop Manziel’s punishment after only one game, or does he start Austin Davis Sunday against the first-place Cincinnati Bengals?
Pettine said Tuesday that no decision had been made.
Davis performed well Monday night in relief of McCown, completing 7-of-10 passes for 77 yards and a touchdown. He also drove them into position for what could have been a game-winning field goal as time expired, only to see the Baltimore Ravens block it and return it for a winning touchdown.
Davis also has experience as a starter, going 3-5 for the Rams last season. He was not bad, either, completing 63.4 percent of his passes at 11.1 yards per completion. He threw nine interceptions in 284 attempts, which is not outstanding, but threw 12 touchdown passes.
This season, Manziel has completed 59.4 percent of his passes at 12.3 yards per catch, with five touchdowns and two interceptions. He gets sacked too often, but is a more dangerous runner than Davis.