Johnny Manziel played a poor game, and highlighted the subpar effort by giving the Redskins bench a middle finger in a moment of frustration. Sure he led a touchdown drive against a bunch of Redskins backups, but in no way did Johnny Football take charge as the Cleveland Browns starting quarterback on Monday night.
"I don't think it's a positive," Manziel told reporters after the game.
His comment came as a response to the flipped bird, but it also could be taken about the overall game. Manziel finished 7 of 16 for 65 yards with a touchdown, but never looked like the show-stopping talent America saw while he played at Texas A&M. What did appear during the Browns 24-23 loss to the Redskins was the questionable decision-making that accompanies Manziel's reputation.
"I should've been smarter," he said.
Manziel said that he was hearing a lot of insults from the Redskins bench, and he simply lost his composure. Browns' cornerback Joe Haden said that Manziel gets "worst things you could ever imagine" said to him during games, from both opposing players and fans.
"I'm disappointed," Browns coach Mike Pettine said of Manziel's antics. "You have to be able to maintain your poise. It's a big part of all football players, especially the quarterback."
With his level of celebrity, Manziel said the amount of verbal abus on the road comes as no surprise, but he added he looks forward to playing a home game in front of the Cleveland crowd.
Familiar with young quarterbacks, Redskins coach Jay Gruden called Manziel an "exciting" player with a lot to learn.
"He's got a long way to go, there's no question about it," Gruden said.
Football players lose their emotions at times during game. It happens. In a vacuum, Manziel flipping the bird is not a big deal. And the quarterback said as much in his post-game comments.
"It’s not a big deal to me. I think I need to, like I said, hold my composure better, but it’s a gesture.”
Taken with everything else -- the pictures and wild rumors -- and Manziel seems like a rookie unable to handle the pressure of the NFL. He certainly looked that way Monday against the Redskins.