Manziel entered the game as a backup in the middle of the second quarter, and although he couldn't take his team to the end zone, he did go 7 of 11 for 63 yards, completing one more pass than starting quarterback Brian Hoyer. Manziel also ran for 27 yards on six carries, including a 16-yard scramble in the third quarter.
Matthew Stafford led the Lions to a field goal on his only drive of the game. Star receiver Calvin Johnson didn't play.
Cleveland receiver Nate Burleson, who played in Detroit the last four seasons, also sat out this game.
Detroit's Kellen Moore threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Corey Fuller with 1:05 remaining in the game, and Giorgio Tavecchio made the long extra point to give the Lions the one-point win.
There was a buzz surrounding this preseason game because of Manziel's debut, and the former Heisman Trophy winner took the field with 7:32 remaining in the first half, drawing a few cheers but also plenty of boos from the Detroit crowd. Amid a fair number of camera flashes at Ford Field, Manziel took the snap and immediately completed a 6-yard pass toward the left sideline to Anthony Armstrong.
But the Lions stuffed the Cleveland quarterback on what looked like a read option on third down, ending that drive.
Billy Cundiff gave Cleveland a 9-6 lead with a 41-yard field goal early in the third quarter. On his next drive, Manziel dropped back on third-and-8, then took off up the middle, finding plenty of open space for a 16-yard run that was the longest by a Cleveland player on the night.
Manziel later outran the Lions to the sideline to pick up a first down on fourth-and-1, but the drive ended when Dion Lewis fumbled inside the Detroit 30.
Cundiff kicked four field goals for the Browns, and rookie Nate Freese made two for the Lions. Detroit was playing its first preseason game under new coach Jim Caldwell, and the offense did little to impress with Stafford barely playing. Backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky went 12 of 23 for 89 yards.
Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon played while awaiting word from the NFL on his appeal of a possible suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy. He caught two passes for 32 yards. Hoyer went 6 of 14 for 92 yards.
Rookie tight end Eric Ebron, Detroit's first-round pick, played after missing some practice time during the week with an injury. He caught one pass.
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