OTTAWA, Ontario — Johnny Manziel eliminated the interceptions but couldn’t generate enough offense for the Montreal Alouettes in a 24-17 loss to the Ottawa Redblacks on Saturday night.
After throwing four first-half interceptions last week in his Montreal debut, Manziel was 16 of 26 for 168 yards without an interception. He also ran three times for 36 yards, with his fumble at the goal line recovered for a third-quarter touchdown by center Kristian Matte.
“I want to be fighting with these guys. I want to be their quarterback and the quarterback of this team in this city,” said Manziel, sporting a big welt on his chin. “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.”
Ottawa broke a tie with 15 seconds left on William Powell’s 10-yard touchdown run.
Montreal is 1-7 this season and has won just once in 19 games going back a year.
“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,” he said. “We’re a lot closer than we were a week ago and if we continue to make those strides, we’ll be OK.”
The welt on Manziel’s chin came on the touchdown play where he fumbled.
“Ran into a brick wall,” Manziel said. “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.”
The Alouettes acquired Manziel from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats three weeks ago. The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner at Texas A&M, played in two exhibition games for Hamilton, but couldn’t get on the field behind starter Jeremiah Masoli in the regular season. Montreal’s 50-11 home loss to Hamilton last week was his first regular-season action since December 2015 with the NFL’s Cleveland Browns.
“I thought he came in and threw the ball well, made some really good decisions,” Alouettes coach Mike Sherman said. “I thought he did a good job and he’d just be better and better.”
Trevor Harris was 44 of 54 for 487 yards and a touchdown for the East-leading Redblacks (5-3). He threw a second-quarter interception that Chris Ackie returned for a touchdown.
Powell had 17 carries for 104 yards and caught two passes for 21 yards.