BRIAN HOYER came dangerously close to losing his dream job for good.

Browns decided that despite his imperfections and recent mistakes, Hoyer is still their starting quarterback over rookie Johnny Manziel, who may be their future but isn't ready to handle the present.

The Browns are Hoyer's team for at least one more Sunday.

"I want to see this thing through," Hoyer said. "I want to finish this strong."

Cleveland's struggling veteran will start again this week against Indianapolis after first-year coach Mike Pettine and his staff decided Hoyer would be the better option down the stretch than Manziel, who flashed some Johnny Football magic last week in a loss at Buffalo.

Hoyer's poor performance against the Bills - he was pulled for Manziel with 12 minutes left in a 26-10 loss - raised the possibility that Cleveland (7-5) would make another switch at the position. The Browns have had 20 starting quarterbacks since 1999.

Pettine described the decision as difficult because of Hoyer's performance, but said coaches put more value on his experience and success.

"It wasn't perfect and he's made his share of mistakes, but he's gotten the lion's share of reps in practice and virtually all of them in games and has us in the thick of a playoff hunt," Pettine said. "That, to me, was probably the biggest determining factor."

Pettine said he told both quarterbacks his decision yesterday.

Manziel, who led the Browns on an 80-yard touchdown drive he capped with a 10-yard run last week, was understandably disappointed. But the first-round draft pick was encouraged by his time on the field and knows his chance may not be far off.

"Obviously, that's a decision that's made by coach Pettine," he said. "And this week his answer was 'No,' so moving forward whatever transpires, maybe next time the answer will be 'Yes.' "

Pettine said there was some "lively" discussion before the coaching staff agreed to stay with Hoyer, who has thrown just one touchdowns pass and six interceptions in his last three games. Hoyer will not be on a "short leash" and Pettine is confident the 5-year veteran and the rest of Cleveland's offense can bounce back after a rough stretch.

Also, Cleveland placed wide receiver Miles Austin on injured reserve with a kidney injury.

Noteworthy

* The Baltimore Ravens say they didn't write a script for Ray Rice and Janay Rice during their joint news conference on May 23. In an interview this week on the "Today" show, Janay Rice said the team suggested to her that she apologize for her involvement in the February incident in which Ray punched her in an elevator. Janay Rice also said the Ravens gave the couple "a general script" for the news conference. Janay Rice told "Today": "I was ready to do anything that was going to help the situation. Help the way we looked in the media, help his image, help obviously his career. They told us earlier that week we would do the press conference, and I was fine with it."

Kevin Byrne, senior vice president of public and community relations for the Ravens, said in a statement yesterday that the team provided talking points to Ray, but not Janay.

* Buffalo Bills president Russ Brandon announced that the team is done playing annual regular-season "home" games in Toronto after reaching an agreement with Rogers Communications to terminate the 4 remaining years of the series.

* Adrian Peterson won't attend the conclusion of his suspension appeal hearing today when NFL executive Troy Vincent is scheduled to testify, two sources told the Associated Press.

* Pete Rodriguez, one of the first Hispanic coaches in pro football, has died. He was 75. Rodriguez, a two-time special-teams coach of the year, worked for the Raiders, Cardinals, Redskins, Seahawks and Jaguars.

* Green Bay's win over fellow Super Bowl contender New England at Lambeau Field was the highest-rated NFL regular-season game in almost three years. The first matchup between Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady averaged a 17.6 rating and 32 share Sunday on CBS.

* The Giants placed offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz and defensive ends Mathias Kiwanuka and Robert Ayers on injured reserve.

* Arizona running back Jonathan Dwyer is due back in court Jan. 15 after being charged with assaulting his wife last summer. Dwyer appeared in court for a hearing yesterday.

* Chicago signed veteran kicker Jay Feely with Robbie Gould doubtful for tonight's game against Dallas because of a right quadriceps injury.

* Cincinnati signed veteran right tackle Eric Winston.

* Jacksonville placed starting right tackle Austin Pasztor on injured reserve with a ruptured hamstring.