It's been a long time coming for Giants safety Stevie Brown to contribute. And he isn't wasting his chance.
Brown had two interceptions and one fumble recovery in the Giants' 29-24 win over the Cowboys on Sunday. Those were his fourth and fifth interceptions and his second fumble recovery on the season. Seven turnovers leads the NFL and five interceptions is second to Chicago's Tim Jennings.
And to think, just a month or two ago, no Giants fans knew who he was.
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"Ever since I got into the league [I've been waiting for my opportunity]. … That’s exactly how I felt," Brown said in a conference call Monday. "I had a little opportunity to play when I was in Oakland [in 2010]. I was able to do a little bit out there. I didn’t really play that much in Indy [last year] other than special teams and then that’s how it started off here. Since I’ve been in there, I’ve been trying to make the most of my opportunities."
Brown got that opportunity after an injury to Kenny Phillips in Week 3 at Carolina. Phillips hasn't played since, but thanks to Brown the absence hasn't shown.
"It’s been everything I’ve been working for," Brown said. "I made different types of impacts -- whether it was just special teams-wise, getting a few snaps here and there -- but to actually contribute on defense as much as I have, it’s definitely been the goal that I’ve been working for since I’ve been in the league."
And Phillips, a five-year veteran still working to return soon, has been one of his biggest supporters.
"For him to just see me play and him still helping me out, it’s kind of like him helping me out, coaching me up and helping me look for things when I’m on the field," Brown said. "He definitely has an impact on the way I’m playing because he helps me out. He’s a professional. He’s not about to hate or talk bad about someone else on their game just because he’s not able to play right now. He understands the concept of a team and he understands that he’s not able to go right now, so he’s just helping me out along the way."
Brown has stepped up in big situations as well. His second interception on Sunday ended up sealing the win despite a few last heaves into the end zone. With Dallas quarterback Tony Romo rolling to his right on 4th-and-1, he fired a desperation pass which Brown caught while tip-toeing along the sideline like an experienced wide receiver.
"I’d like to think I have [always had a nose for the football]," Brown said. "My college stats didn’t really show it, but even when I was in high school that’s how I started off getting recruited because, as a sophomore, I had 10 interceptions. It’s just something I’ve always been able to do."
"Well, the first thing I react to is by telling you that I’m the greatest cheerleader in the world. I mean, I look out there, who this guy is and where the ball is. I think it’s a great tribute to him," head coach Tom Coughlin said Monday. "He’s done a very good job, he’s being recognized by all of us and has been a huge factor in our being able to win a few games in a row."
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.