New Orleans Saints Kristjan Sokoli (62) tussles with New Orleans Saints defensive end Mitchell Loewen (70) as the Saints begin training camp at the Sports Performance Center in Metairie, La. Friday, July 28, 2017.

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON

Mitchell Loewen has learned to just keep coming. 

Forced to stay on injured reserve all last season as an undrafted rookie out of Arkansas due to a foot injury, Loewen had to keep working without a chance to really play. 

The lesson paid off on Thursday night against Cleveland. Working hard on a second effort, Loewen took down DeShone Kizer for a sack in the Saints' 20-14 loss.

Initially stymied, Loewen thought Kizer would have gotten rid of the ball earlier.

"It didn't feel all that clean," Loewen said. "The timing, it didn't feel like a sack. ... But you've just got to keep working in there."

Loewen picked up a half a sack on a more traditional rush later, meeting rookie defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad at Kizer to take him down. Loewen was credited with four tackles and three tackles-for-loss in addition to the 1.5 sacks.

And although he's made those types of plays consistently in training camp, it felt good to make them in a game.

"When you're injured, it really doesn't feel like you're on the team unless you're playing, unless you're contributing," Loewen said. "I felt like I got out there and contributed."

Follow Joel A. Erickson on Twitter, @JoelAErickson.