By sacking Dalton, Mingo became the first NFL player since Oakland’s Tommie Kelly in 2004, and first Browns defender ever to register a sack in his first three games.
“It feels great,” Mingo said. “I’ve just got to keep it coming, keep making the plays I can make to help this team win. I’ve just got to keep it up and keep improving and let the rest take care of itself.
“On this one, he stepped up. (It was) vision of the quarterback and a want to get there.”
Mingo made the start in place of outside linebacker
In addition the sack for a two-yard loss, Mingo registered four total tackles, and one hit on the quarterback.
“That’s what he’s here for; he’s here to rush the passer,” said defensive captain and inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson. “He’s here to stop the run first to allow him to rush the passer. We’ve got a saying in our room: ‘You’ve got to earn the right to rush the passer,’ and that’s stopping the run. He’s bought in. He’s done a phenomenal job so far.”
Mingo missed the final two games of the preseason and the home opener against the Miami Dolphins because of a bruised lung suffered in the Browns’ preseason win over the Detroit Lions on Aug. 15. Since he returned to the field at Baltimore on Sept. 15, Mingo has been wreaking havoc in opposing backfields.
And he almost recovered his first fumble when a mistimed snap rolled past Dalton as the Bengals were driving into Cleveland territory.
On first-and-10 from the Browns’ 41-yard line, Dalton missed the snap as Mingo was coming in off the edge. Mingo quickly reversed field, sprinted toward the ball, and tackled Bengals running back Giovani Bernard for a 14-yard loss.
“He hasn’t missed a beat,” Jackson said. “The guy has a motor. He has exceptional speed, and he has a knack for getting after the passer and batting balls.”
After seeing the team’s first-round pick from April in three games, Browns coach Rob Chudzinski feels the ceiling is high for Mingo.
“He shows up an awful lot,” Chudzinski said. “He just improves and gets better every, single day. His energy on the field brings a lot to us. It brings a lot to our defense.”