Johnny Football's days as a backup are over this season.

He's getting his chance to start.

Rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel will make his first NFL start Sunday against Cincinnati, replacing the slumping Brian Hoyer as Cleveland tries to pump life into its sagging playoff hopes.

After moving up in the draft to get him and waiting seven months as he learned and watched from the sideline, the Browns are finally setting one of college football's most captivating players loose with three games left in the season.

Browns coach Mike Pettine made the expected switch on Tuesday after meeting with his staff and general manager Ray Farmer, then informing both quarterbacks. Many Browns fans have wanted the change for weeks as they watched Hoyer fumble away his dream job.

Newton injured in crash

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton suffered fractures to his lower back in a two-car crash in Charlotte, N.C., and spent the night in the hospital, a team spokesman said.

Newton was in fair condition, had no other internal injuries, and would not need surgery, team spokesman Charlie Dayton said during a news conference outside a Charlotte hospital. It was unclear whether Newton would be able to practice or play Sunday against the Buccaneers, Dayton said.

"Right now we have thought about Cam's well-being and we understand there was someone else in the other car who was injured," Dayton said. "We just hope that they're all OK."

49ers activate Bowman

The San Francisco 49ers activated linebacker NaVorro Bowman to the 53-man roster from the reserve/physically unable to perform list.

Bowman, a Penn State graduate, has been rehabbing his surgically repaired left knee that has kept him out since the injury in January in the NFC title game at Seattle.

Julio's big night

Falcons coach Mike Smith said the "intention" is for wide receiver Julio Jones, who left Monday night's loss to Green Bay with a hip injury, to play this week against Pittsburgh.

Jones set a Falcons record with 259 yards receiving in the 43-37 loss to the Packers. He did not return after leaving the game in the fourth quarter with the injury.

Smith said Jones and safety William Moore, who hurt his foot, were sore on Tuesday.