Brown surprised by key penalty

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Patriots safety Sergio Brown (31) commits a key penalty late in the game.FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots safety Sergio Brown said he was surprised to be flagged for a key pass interference penalty that set up the winning touchdown as the Giants emerged with a 24-20 triumph at Gillette Stadium.

Brown, on the field for his only snap of the game after Patrick Chung limped off after tweaking an ankle in pass defense a few plays earlier, committed a 20-yard penalty when he collided with Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz near the goal line with 30 seconds remaining and New York trailing by a field goal.

Three plays later, quarterback Eli Manning threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jake Ballard with 15 seconds remaining to win it.

"I got my head back, looking at the ball, and tried to make a play on the ball," said Brown, who picked up Cruz after he raced past cornerback Kyle Arrington on a first-down play from the New England 21. "I guess we got tangled up. I was looking at the ball, trying to make a play on it. Our feet got tangled up, and they called it on me."

Replays appear to show Brown running into Cruz as he looks back to track the ball, but he was still surprised by the call.

"Yeah, I was surprised at the penalty," Brown said. "I was looking at the ball -- I was playing the ball. I didn’t think they were going to call it."

Brown (198 snaps through the first four weeks of the season) has seen his playing time dip recently. He opened the year rotating with Josh Barrett opposite Chung, but had played just 18 defensive snaps in the previous three games and was inactive for a Week 6 visit from the Cowboys while battling a chest injury. Even still, he acknowledged he needed to be ready.

"Sometimes you don't even pay attention to that, you just got out there and play," said Brown. "You've got to do your job whenever your called on. Guys go down, but you gotta keep playing."