CLEVELAND — Maybe the Bears with unheralded David Fales actually got the better of the quarterback draft this year compared to the Cleveland Browns and their Johnny Manziel. At least for the first half of a final 2014 preseason game.
The two rookie quarterbacks directed their offenses to 13 points while they were both in the game at the same time. But for straightforward production, Fales carried the evening.
“I thought I did a pretty good job, personally,” Fales said. “I also think we all worked pretty good together with all the guys we had out there.”
Manziel put some excitement into First Energy Stadium with some scrambles (four runs, 55 yards, a long of 22 yards) and directed his offense to 13 points in roughly a half of play. The Browns used starter Brian Hoyer and the No. 1 offense to score on their opening possession.
But whatever energy Manziel supplied with his feet was not close to matched by his passing. Manziel completed just six of 17 passes for 83 yards, with a one-yard scoring toss in the second quarter, all for a rating of 71.4.
Fales, the second of the Bears’ two sixth-round picks in the 2014 draft, was given the start against the Browns. He responded by guiding the offense to points on three of its first four possessions, coming up empty only when Robbie Gould’s FG attempt from 52 yards going wide right.
Fales completed 11 of 17 passes in the first half, for 129 yards, one touchdown, zero interceptions and a rating of 107.2.
To Fales’ added credit, he was working with the second- and third-string offensive players against predominantly the Cleveland starters on his first two possessions. Fales did overthrow an open Amanti Edwards on a fade route in the end zone in the second quarter.
“I think we were all very confident,” Fales said. “We had some experienced players out there in our group, too, so we were really confident in what we were doing.”
Manziel, who came in on the Browns’ second possession and was victimized, not by the Bears but by his own team. Manziel executed a naked bootleg perfectly and lofted a perfect pass to tight end Gary Barnidge, who let the ball go cleanly through his arms. A play later, rookie running back Terrance West fumbled the ball away, recovered by cornerback Al Louis-Jean.
Manziel also suffered a sack by defensive end David Bass, fumbling the football but keeping possession. Manziel was saved from additional ignominy when a wobbling deep pass into double coverage resulted in a pass-interference call worth 30 yards.
The Browns’ rookie wasted no time taking advantage of the help. He scrambled away from a Bears rush to throw 27 yards to veteran Nate Burleson, then used a misdirection to buy time and produced a one-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jim Dray.