Despite the fact that the Texas A&M Aggies lost to the Alabama Crimson Tide 49-42 in College Station, Johnny Manziel still proved he is an elite quarterback in college football.
Manziel was nothing short of sensational for the Aggies in the losing effort. Johnny Football completed 28 of his 39 pass attempts en route to an astounding 464 yards and five touchdowns through the air with two picks.
Adding to his impressive performance, Manziel ran the ball 14 times for 98 yards.
Manziel certainly put his team in a position to win this game early on, however it was his defense that let him down. The Aggies signal-caller staked his team to a 14-0 lead to start, but Texas A&M's defense would go on to allow 35 unanswered points.
Granted, Manziel didn't do much in the way of combating Alabama's offensive explosion with more great play of his own in the second and the third quarters, but how much more could Manziel do? He is only human, so it came as no surprise that the Aggies offense stalled after a fast start.
That was when Texas A&M needed its defense to step up, and that certainly didn't happen in this case. Instead, it was Manziel who nearly bailed his defense out as the Aggies offense battled all the way back from down 42-21 to make it a one touchdown game at 42-35.
It was after that when the Aggies defense would allow yet another score to the Crimson Tide, thus ending any hopes of a comeback. Manziel didn't give up, though, as he led his team to another scoring drive that made it 49-42.
Manziel did what few quarterbacks are capable of doing in the college game. He gave head coach Nick Saban's defense fits with his dual-threat abilities and kept an elite defense on its heels for much of the afternoon.
Manziel's production of over 550 yards of total offense made Alabama look more like Sam Houston State's defense rather than one that is in the process of going for a three-peat, national title run. In fact, Manziel himself enjoyed more success against 'Bama than he did his lesser Week 2 opponent.
His play against the Crimson Tide is no fluke, either. Manziel dominated Alabama last year as well to the tune of 253 yards and two scores through the air, as well as 92 yards on the ground. More importantly, the 2013 matchup between these two squads actually had Manziel improving his play aside from the two picks.
That is no small task, and if you think so, just ask opposing quarterbacks who have played Alabama in the past. Those who have had that kind of success are few and far between, making what Manziel did Saturday afternoon that much more special.
When talking about Manziel's status as an elite quarterback in college football, winning isn't everything. Such a dominant performance against one of the best defenses in the country further shows Manziel is one of the best in the sport, and there's no loss that can take that away from him.