Although the play was not as cordial as a formal introduction between the Cleveland Browns’ rookie outside linebacker and the Baltimore Ravens’ Super Bowl-winning quarterback, that is how Mingo’s first snap in the NFL went.
Aligned on the right side of the Browns’ defense, Mingo lined up opposite Ravens left tackle Bryant McKinnie, used his speed to get around the veteran offensive lineman and brought down Flacco for a nine-yard loss.
“It’s an incredible feeling,” Mingo said of sacking the quarterback on his first NFL snap. “Us guys, we like getting to quarterbacks. It was just too little and we couldn’t finish the game.
“My dream scenario is getting one every play, but that one, it was a good feeling to start the game out. It gave me the confidence I needed to play and continue to make plays.”
Mingo’s sack came at a time when the Ravens were driving in Browns territory. After the sack, the Ravens faced a second-and-19 from the Browns’ 44-yard line, and despite getting 12 yards, on the ensuing play, Baltimore could not continue the drive and did not come away with any points.
Second-year kicker Justin Tucker missed a 50-yard attempt wide left.
“I was impressed with him,” Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said of Mingo. “For coming back this week and getting his first snaps in a live game, he did a real nice job, was able to get some pressure on the quarterback. He was active. He was flying around pretty well.”
In addition to the sack on his first play, Mingo registered two solo tackles and drew a pair of holding penalties, one each on defense and special teams.
“I beat the guys,” Mingo said. “One, I came inside on the punt and he couldn’t get his hands in the proper place and kind of tugged on me, so it got flagged. The other one was a stretch play. I tried to separate, but obviously, he didn’t want me to separate, so he pulled me. They were good, timely flags.”
After missing the opening game of the season while recovering from a bruised lung suffered in a preseason win over the Detroit Lions on Aug. 15, Mingo played on defense and special teams, and saw an increased workload when Browns linebacker
“I would’ve wanted more plays for selfish reasons, I guess,” Mingo said. “We’re playmakers in the outside linebacker room and we want to compete for those reps. Those guys don’t want to come out and I want to stay in. That’s what helps us, as players, be so dominant.”