By Marla Ridenour
and Nate Ulrich
Beacon Journal sports writers
BALTIMORE: Barkevious Mingo’s first play was the stuff of dreams, and the Browns’ first-round pick longed for more.
Mingo, an outside linebacker from LSU, made his NFL debut in the 14-6 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium after suffering a bruised lung Aug. 15 in the second preseason game.
Mingo made an impact on his first play. Entering the game with 12:26 left in the first quarter, Mingo beat left tackle Bryant McKinnie and sacked Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco for a 9-yard loss.
“My dream scenario is getting one on every play,” Mingo said afterward. “But it was a good feeling to start the game out. Gave me the confidence I needed to play and continue to make plays.
“It’s an incredible feeling. Us guys, we like hitting quarterbacks.”
Mingo also finished with two solo tackles, a tackle for loss and a quarterback hurry. He also drew two holding penalties as the Ravens had problems containing him on defense and special teams. The latter increased when the Browns lost outside linebacker Quentin Groves to a left ankle injury on the second half kickoff.
“I beat the guys. One I came inside on the punt, he couldn’t get his hands in the proper place and he kind of tugged on me,” Mingo said of the holding calls. “The other one was a stretch play to try to separate. He obviously didn’t want me to separate and make the play, so he pulled me. Good timely flags.”
It appeared Mingo had a chance for an interception with 11:54 remaining when he tipped a Flacco pass intended for fullback Vonta Leach and dove for it.
“I batted it and he kind of shouldered it so I couldn’t get to it,” Mingo said. “It wasn’t really that close.”
Mingo said physically he felt fine. He thought he could have played more than he did, but he said that was up to the coaches. But overall, Mingo went home disappointed.
“I feel like if I could have done a little bit more maybe we would have won,” he said. “We’ve just got to finish the ballgame.”
Mingo’s performance drew praise from Browns coach Rob Chudzinski and his teammates.
“I was impressed with him,” Chudzinski said. “He did a real nice job and was able to get pressure on the quarterback. He was active, and he was flying around pretty well.”
Cornerback Chris Owens called Mingo “a huge game-changer for us on defense.”
Browns defensive captain D’Qwell Jackson said Mingo’s afternoon was “very impressive.”
“The guy picked up where he left off,” Jackson said. “That’s just one more tool we can use. That’s going to be great for us down the stretch.”
Browns nose tackle Phil Taylor drew a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty when he used his right hand to smack running back Ray Rice in the helmet after the second play from scrimmage. After the game, Taylor said he was provoked but he wouldn’t specify how.
“I usually don’t do that, but something happened,” Taylor said. “I still have to keep my composure.”
When asked whether Rice spit on him, Taylor said, “Look at the film, you will see.”
A replay that shows the 6-foot-3, 335-pound Taylor and 5-8, 212-pound Rice meeting face to face was inconclusive.
“I heard a guy scream that he got spit on,” said inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, the Browns’ defensive captain. “If guys are spitting, that’s immature, that’s elementary. We’re all grown men, there’s no need to spit on a guy. I don’t know if it was Ray, but apparently someone got spit on. I don’t want to call names, I don’t know who did it.”
The fiasco, though, didn’t end with Taylor’s smack.
Taylor continued to talk trash with the Ravens and then refused to leave the game when the Browns sent backup nose tackle Ishmaa’ily Kitchen onto the field to replace him. Later during the series, Taylor came off the field and was chewed out by defensive line coach Joe Cullen.
Taylor wasn’t the only player who waved Kitchen back to the sideline.
“We all did,” Jackson said. “There’s no reason for [Taylor] to come off.
“The mature players can flare up a little bit, but still be able to execute. We didn’t want Kitchen to come out. I wanted [Taylor] to stay in the game so he could learn from it.”
Rice suffered a hip injury early in the fourth quarter and did not speak after the game.
When asked if he ever has had a problem with Rice before, Taylor said, “I don’t like any running back I play against.”
When asked if Rice had ever done anything to him before, Taylor said, “After today, no.”
During training camp, the offseason work of third-year receiver Greg Little seemed evident. That hasn’t been the case in the first two games. Little dropped two passes in the opener against the Miami Dolphins and had at least two more drops against the Ravens.
“That’s something I have to work on. I have to concentrate to make my catches,” Little said. “My focus needs to be better when the ball is in the air.”
The Browns might have to turn to backup quarterback Jason Campbell next Sunday at Minnesota against the Vikings depending on how Brandon Weeden’s sprained right thumb heals.
A nine-year veteran signed in March after stints with the Chicago Bears, Oakland Raiders and Washington Redskins, Campbell entered the game with 3:34 remaining and completed 1-of-4 passes for 6 yards.
“It was the first time getting to play in a while, the first time getting to run our offense,” Campbell said. “I’ll prepare this week as if I’m starting. A week of preparation, it definitely helps a lot.”
Campbell’s situation was made even tougher because the Browns took over at their 1-yard line after Ravens receiver Tandon Doss downed a punt.
“After you’ve been on the sideline, and you’re pretty much stiff the whole game, then all of a sudden you have to go 99 yards in three minutes against a really good defense, it doesn’t get any tougher than that,” Campbell said.
Browns running back Trent Richardson expressed confidence in Campbell if he takes over against the Vikings.
“Jason will do well. He’s got to know that we believe in him,” Richardson said. “He’s got a big arm. Jason has got to make sure that he controls the offense. Game management, all that, he’s got to make sure that he can step up and be the captain. We know he can. So he’s just got to be him.”
X-rays were negative on Groves’ ankle, Chudzinski said, but Groves left the stadium wearing a walking boot and using crutches. Billy Winn started at left defensive end in place of Ahtyba Rubin (calf) and Oniel Cousins filled in at right guard for Shawn Lauvao (high ankle sprain). Strong safety T.J. Ward (shoulder) and wide receiver Travis Benjamin (thigh) started despite entering Sunday listed as questionable.
Tight end Jordan Cameron’s five catches for a game-high 95 yards included a career-long 53-yarder. … With a half sack, defensive lineman Desmond Bryant extended his streak to six consecutive games with at least a half sack. … Linebacker Jabaal Sheard totaled eight tackles and a half sack.