"Johnny will be our starting quarterback on Sunday," Browns coach Mike Pettine said. "He's been solid in the building over the last couple of weeks and we are hopeful he takes this opportunity to continue to build on the progress he's made on the field throughout the season. The goal for every game is to go out and win, and Johnny needs to show that he can put us in position to do so during these last four weeks of the season."
Pettine took a strong stance in disciplining his lightning-rod passer, but the muddy situation at quarterback grew dire after veteran Josh McCown was lost for the year in Week 12. Besides, keeping Manziel on the bench for another week simply made no sense for a team spiraling into deep darkness.
How Manziel performs over the next four weeks -- on and off the field -- will have a huge impact on how Cleveland approaches an offseason certain to be filled with another round of deep-cutting organizational changes.