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Johnny Manziel’s first start in the Canadian Football League could not have gone worse as he tossed up four first-half interceptions.

Manziel’s second CFL start then on Saturday was a somewhat inevitable step in the right direction, despite his Montreal Alouettes falling again. 

There were no interceptions this time for Manziel, though overall the Alouettes were drastically out-gained in their 24-17 setback to the Ottawa Redblacks.

Manziel completed 16 of 26 passes for 168 yards and rushed three times for an additional 36 yards. One of those runs was nearly a touchdown, though Manziel was walloped at the goal line and fumbled the ball. Luckily for him it was recovered for a Montreal touchdown. 

“Ran into a brick wall,” Manziel said of the collision that left him with a welt on his chin. “That defense was fast, that defense was big and aggressive. They hit hard, they’re quick. But like I told these guys, you’re not going to take me out like that.”

Despite some personal positives for Manziel, his offense was out-gained 601-271, with QB counterpart Trevor Harris accounting for 487 of those yards. 

“I want to be fighting with these guys. I want to be their quarterback and the quarterback of this team in this city,” Manziel said. 

“I’ve been sitting out for a long time and waiting for another opportunity. It sucks when you don’t see results. It’s hard when you don’t see results. But at the end of the day when you have faith in the guy to the left or right of you, your brothers on this team, we’ll be OK.”

The Alouettes were actually leading 17-11 entering the fourth quarter, but Manziel and company could not put more points on the board as the Redblacks scored 13 unanswered to end the game. 

Manziel had a chance to be the hero late with the score tied 17-17, but the Alouettes were forced to punt with 2:42 remaining. Ottawa went down the field and scored the winning TD with 15 seconds to go. 

“It sucks to lose the game, and I’m not sitting here saying I’m happy with the outcome of the game. But as far as improvement we’re close,” Manziel said.

“We’re a lot closer than we were a week ago and if we continue to make those strides, we’ll be OK.”

Contributing: Associated Press

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