BEREA, Ohio -- Brian Hoyer held off Johnny Manziel again.
Cleveland's struggling veteran quarterback kept his job and will start Sunday against Indianapolis after first-year coach Mike Pettine decided he would be a better choice to lead the Browns down the stretch than Manziel, the super-hyped rookie who gave the team a spark last week in a loss at Buffalo.
Hoyer has played poorly for a month, but the Browns (7-5) are sticking with him as they try to make the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
"After thorough evaluation and talking to the staff, we feel Brian gives us the best opportunity to win on Sunday," Pettine said in a statement released by the team. "This is a football decision and those are always going to be based on what we think is best for our team."
Pettine, who was expected to speak with reporters later Wednesday, said he's confident the Browns offense can play well enough to accomplish goals set at the beginning of the season. The Browns are in the thick of the AFC playoff race, trying to get to the postseason for the first time since 2002.
Hoyer was benched in the fourth quarter last week for Manziel after throwing two interceptions against the Bills. He has just one touchdown pass and six interceptions in his past three games and Hoyer's decision-making -- one of his strengths earlier this season -- has been questionable.
Manziel was impressive in two drives. The former Heisman Trophy winner, who will turn 22 on Saturday, was selected to be Cleveland's future QB.
Cleveland's struggles to find a franchise quarterback -- it has used 20 starters since 1999 -- has been the biggest reason behind the team's futility.
On Monday, Hoyer said he expected to keep his job and defended his performance. The team's record was earned through hard work, not luck, he said.
"I think I've proven that I've gotten us to this point. I feel like I can carry us through the next four games," he said. "There's no doubt in my mind that I'll be ready to go."
This is Hoyer's dream job. He grew up in Cleveland rooting for the Browns, and the 29-year-old fulfilled his boyhood wishes when he was given the starting job last season. He made three starts before sustaining a torn knee ligament on a scramble against the Bills, whose defense was coached by Pettine at the time.
Hoyer rehabbed tirelessly to get back and while he expected the Browns to draft a quarterback, he never imagined it would be Manziel, the immensely popular former Texas A&M quarterback. Hoyer beat out Manziel in training camp and he's managed to keep the 21-year-old behind him.
Hoyer is in the final year of his contract and with Manziel around, may have to sign elsewhere in the offseason. But for now, he'll lead the Browns.