Johnny Manziel’s CFL debut doesn’t go as planned
Johnny Manziel threw an interception — and made a tackle — on his second play in the Canadian Football League. It didn’t get much better after that, with four of his six first-half series ending in interceptions.
Seeing regular-season action for first time since December 2015 with the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, the quarterback known as Johnny Football fizzled in a hurry in the Montreal Alouettes’ 50-11 loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Friday night.
“This is a humbling experience,” Manziel said. “I’ve had this experience in the past and there are two ways you go about this moving forward. One, you can let it get you down and sulk and harm you moving forward. The other way is to take this on the chin like a man and never let this taste creep back in your mouth again and never let it happen again. This will motivate me.”
After completing a pass for a 5-yard loss on his first play, Manziel threw an interception on the second — with the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner bringing down linebacker Larry Dean.
“I didn’t feel uncomfortable,” Manziel said. “I just feel I might have been a bit too amped up. As the game started, I made a really uncharacteristic throw on the first drive and it really set us back. I did a bad job of setting the tone on that first drive.
On Manziel’s second series, with Montreal down 14-0 to his former Hamilton teammates, he handed off twice before the Tiger-Cats blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown.
The former Texas A&M star had another pass intercepted on his third series, with the blame going to running back Tyrell Sutton for mishandling and deflecting the ball to defender Jumal Rolle.
Manziel led Montreal to a field goal on his fourth drive, then threw his third interception early in the second quarter — Rolle’s second of the night.
The fourth interception came with 2:22 left in the half that ended with the Tiger-Cats up 38-3.
Manziel finished 11 of 20 for 104 yards. He played three series in the third quarter — all ending in punts — before giving way to backup Vernon Adams in the fourth.
“It didn’t look like anybody was ready today,” Montreal coach Mike Sherman said. “The defense, the offense, the special teams. I don’t have any regrets. He’s going to have to get his first game out of his system.”
Manziel began the season with Hamilton, but couldn’t get on the field behind starter Jeremiah Masoli and was traded to Montreal two weeks ago.
“Would it have been nice to be here for three weeks and then get the start? Sure,” Manziel said. “But I didn’t lack any confidence coming into the game. I didn’t feel unprepared. But who knows? I got the start and it went just about as bad as it could possibly go.”
The Alouettes are 1-6 and have won just once in 18 games going back a year.
Masoli was 17 of 26 for 300 yards and two touchdowns and a scoring run for the Tiger-Cats (3-4).
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