Down and Distance: Ep. 5 (Week 14)

Though Johnny Manziel saw time last week and led a touchdown drive against Buffalo, Brian Hoyer will once again get the call to start this week against the Colts. (Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
Though Johnny Manziel (l.) saw time last week and led a touchdown drive in Cleveland’s loss against Buffalo, Brian Hoyer will once again get the call to start this week against the Colts. (Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

Johnny Football will have to wait. But for how much longer?

The latest edition of Down and Distance previews Week 14 in the NFL, and our hosts – Adesina O. Koiki and Holly Culbertson – split up the First Down segment into two. Part one of First Down includes the most important takeaways from the three Thanksgiving games, which included impressive wins on the road by Philadelphia (vs. Dallas) and Seattle (vs. San Francisco). The segment also hits on whether it’s time for the Cleveland Browns to make the switch from Brian Hoyer – who has only thrown one touchdown compared to six interceptions in his last four games – to Johnny Manziel as the team looks to make its first playoff appearance since 2002.

Last week, The Buffalo News reported on the dire health and financial situation of former Buffalo Bills linebacker Darryl Talley, a member of all four Bills AFC Championship teams in the 1990s, and the second part of First Down is dedicated to discussing how his situation hit real close to Holly (a lifelong Bills fan), as well as the miasma that remains concerning the NFL, its previous handling of concussions and treatment of former players in the league now suffering from mental and physical issues after football. A GoFundMe campaign has already raised over $150,000 in support of Talley and his family, and is continuing to accept donations as of Friday.

On Second Down, we interview a mainstay in sports reporting in Cleveland, Mary Kay Cabot of The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer. In our interview, we ask her, among other things, how hard it was for head coach Mike Pettine to decide to stick with Hoyer at quarterback for this week, as well as why Hoyer and receiver Josh Gordon haven’t been on the same page since Gordon’s return from suspension. Also, Mary Kay explains in detail which players on the defense have stepped up this season, especially given the Browns recent offensive struggles, and the team’s mindset going into these next two games, which includes a matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals next week.

Third Down brings a preview of, and predictions on, eight big games in the NFL this week, including two of the teams that impressed on Thanksgiving, the Seattle Seahawks and the Philadelphia Eagles, playing each other at Lincoln Financial Field. Philadelphia looks to hold on to first place in the NFC East while the Seahawks are hot on the Arizona Cardinals’ tail for first in the NFC West. Other games of note include the Cardinals at home to take on the Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati looking to stay in the driver’s seat in the AFC North at home vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots going to San Diego to take on the Chargers. Fourth down sees Holly wrestle with a hypothetical scenario concerning Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts, and whether he can break a specific NFL record that Peyton Manning set just last season.

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Interview Order: First Down, Part One (0:00-19:08); First Down, Part Two (19:16-36:02); Mary Kay Cabot/Cleveland Browns Interview (36:14-47:55); Third/Fourth Downs (48:04-1:30:24)

[Cover photo (Darryl Talley) courtesy of Getty Images]

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