EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Down on the field at MetLife Stadium, it sounded like there were nothing but cheers as Josh Brown's game-winning, 23-yard field goal sailed through the uprights as time expired. Everything felt back to normal for him.
He was a football hero, once again.
Of course, he won't be one to everyone anymore, even some of those who cheered his kick on Sunday and celebrated the Giants' emotional 16-13 win over the Saints. There were surely more than a few conflicted fans feeling plenty of mixed emotions. That's the way it's going to be every time the 37-year-old Brown kicks a big field goal -- or any field goal, really -- for the Giants, for the rest of the time he's here.
It's just hard to separate the player from the man who was suspended for the Giants' opener after he was arrested for a domestic violence incident. It's hard to watch the kick and ignore the police report in which his ex-wife accuses him of being violent more than 20 times.
Brown seems to understand that, but he remains defiant that what he said back in August is still true -- that his domestic violence history was "just a moment" where, according to a police report, he grabbed his wife by the wrist. On Sunday he doubled down, saying, "It was a single moment. An act." He said he has no regrets about how he described it to the press or about anything he said. "Not one thing," he said. And Brown, who hadn't spoken to reporters since Aug. 18, declined to say much more than that.
"I have nothing to say about it -- literally nothing," he said. "My family and I have moved on. My concern is my children. That's it. Everything I said prior to the day my suspension came out is everything I'm going to say."
What Brown preferred to talk about was his "very emotional" game, in which he kicked three field goals including the game-winner, which he insisted "feels like any other game-winner."
But it's hard to just move on with Brown, since there are so many unanswered questions left from the 75-page police report from that "single moment" that included a damning interview with his ex-wife that police deemed credible. He hasn't given his side of the story and it doesn't seem like he will.
He prefers to stand by the facts that the charges were dropped and that the NFL hit him with a light suspension, well below the league's six-game baseline for first-time domestic violence offenders. And of course, a week after the police report was made public, Giants co-owner John Mara spoke out and made it clear that he had Brown's back.
"I was very happy about that," Brown said. "I appreciate everything that Mr. Mara says. He has quite a bit of knowledge about my situation and I appreciated the fact that the Giants stood beside me and behind me and I'll continue to do whatever I can to make sure that they never regret their decision."
From the sound of the stadium, Giants fans didn't regret it. Brown insisted he spoke to fans and signed autographs before the game and described his experience with them as "great." He insisted "I have not heard one negative comment" and hasn't read anything that has been written about him either.
And if there are those who think the Giants should have cut him? "I have no comment for them," Brown said. "Everybody has an opinion. They're allowed to have that." And they will. Some will cheer Brown as loudly as ever. Some may turn their backs. And others -- probably many -- won't really be sure exactly how to feel.
Newhouse out with calf strain
Giants RT Marshall Newhouse had what the Giants called a "strained calf" in the fourth quarter and was replaced by Bobby Hart. After the game, Newhouse had a boot on his right foot/ankle/calf and needed a cart ride out of the stadium. … RB Rashad Jennings had his left wrist and hand wrapped after the game. It wasn't immediately clear what happened, but he was briefly replaced in the second half by Orleans Darkwa.
Saints' Williams leaves on cart
There was a scary scene early when Saints CB P.J. Williams went low to make a tackle on Giants TE Larry Donnell and was kneed in the head by both Donnell and Saints LB Craig Robertson. Players frantically waved for the trainers after the play and Williams had to be lifted onto a stretcher before being carted off the field. The Saints only said he was being evaluated for a concussion. His agent, Deryk Gilmore, told ESPN that he was undergoing tests at the hospital but "can feel his extremities."
Ball security issues
The dazzling 34-yard catch by Victor Cruz that set up the Giants' game-winning field goal was preceded by a deep pass that Odell Beckham Jr. dropped. That wasn't unusual in this game. There were several drops by Manning's receivers, and both Victor Cruz and Shane Vereen fumbled in Saints territory. Cruz's fumble came at the end of a 40-yard catch. "We need to take care of the football better, no question," Giants coach Ben McAdoo said.
Manning: Big numbers, zero TDs
Eli Manning completed 32 of 41 passes for 368 yards and no touchdowns -- oddly more yards than the 350 he threw when he had six touchdown passes in the 52-49 loss to the Saints last year. And he got a big day from rookie Sterling Shephard (eight catches, 117 yards) who clearly took advantage of all the open space left with the Saints doing their best to surround Beckham (eight catches, 86 yards) every time he was thrown the ball.
Together, Shephard, Beckham and Cruz (four catches, 91 yards) combined for 20 catches for 294 yards. "I think the sky is the limit for us," Cruz said. "As long as we continue to understand what each other's best roles are and what our best attirbutes are, I think the sky is the limit. I think we can really do some things that probably have never been done before in a Giants uniform."