Johnny Manziel certainly attracted a lot of attention in his debut on ESPN’s Monday Night Football — especially for a preseason game featuring the Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins. The 2013 Heisman Trophy winner’s MNF debut last night saw the rookie quarterback make a certain very rude finger gesture to the Redskins’ bench — a gesture caught on camera. It also saw ESPN score its second-highest preseason result for the weekly game. Last night’s 8:11-11:15 PM ET MNF drew a 4.8 rating in metered market results. That puts the Browns-Redskins game within passing distance of the all-time ESPN MNF preseason high — the August 31, 2009 game between Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings and the Houston Texans, which drew a 5.5 MM rating. Year-to-year, last night’s game beat the 2013 comparable game by 14%; that match-up between the Redskins and the Pittsburgh Steelers on August 19 last year pulled a 4.2 MM rating.
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Last night’s game drew a 7.3 MM rating in Cleveland and 7.1 MM rating in D. C. The game peaked nationally between 8:45-9 PM ET with a 5.8 MM rating. The first regular season MNF debuts September 8 with the New York Giants vs. the Detroit Lions, the first of 17 games on ESPN’s Monday schedule.