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Rams-Browns battle features Sam sack on Manziel, another Bradford injury

Sam sacks, mocks Manziel late in Rams win
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The St. Louis Rams and Cleveland Browns are both sub. 500 teams, yet they've made the biggest buzz of 2014 so far. Of course, it's mainly because the Rams have Michael Sam and the Browns have Johnny Manziel, not because they're any closer to being playoff clubs. As such, their preseason meeting on Aug. 23 was quite buzz worthy -- especially when Sam sacked Manziel and Sam Bradford suffered another costly injury.

Sam brought Manziel down early in the fourth quarter for his second sack of the preseason. Beforehand, the Rams were hardly celebrating when their own young quarterback went down on their first possession. After last season's costly ACL tear, Bradford can't afford to get injured in any way, yet his latest knee injury doesn't seem as serious.

Nevertheless, despite Sam's sack and a 33-14 win over Cleveland, St. Louis is nervously holding its breath for Bradford's tests to come back. Without him for a long period of time, the Rams' hopes to survive in the crowded NFC West would take a key hit -- to say nothing of Bradford's career.

Bradford has had a few years to overcome various obstacles and setbacks, while Manziel is just getting started. While he and Brian Hoyer have performed almost identically in the preseason, Hoyer was made the Browns' starter earlier in the week anyway. Yet this was their first game in front of a Cleveland crowd that is already aching for Manziel.

Once again, Hoyer and Manziel didn't separate themselves from each other, which didn't help the Browns one bit. Hoyer went 10-for-16 for 84 yards and a touchdown and interception, followed by Manziel going 10-for-15 for 85 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions. Both quarterbacks were also sacked twice, although Manziel experienced the more noteworthy takedown when Sam got him and then mocked his trademark "money" sign.

It is too late for Manziel to change his fate as a backup for the moment, although he will still make the Browns roster. Sam's place with the Rams is still up in the air, so getting another sack -- on the other most hyped and unproven player in all the NFL, no less -- will have to do some good. However, St. Louis still has bigger things to worry about right now.