TAMPA, JAN. 26 -- David Meggett took the pitch from Jeff Hostetler, ran to his to right, stopped, then did something different.
Meggett lofted a tight spiral over San Francisco 49ers linebacker Matt Millen last Sunday, hitting fullback Maurice Carthon in the hands. Meggett perfectly executed the halfback option at the 49ers 11-yard line. But Carthon dropped the pass in the end zone.
Another dimension for the player from Towson State University whom the Giants refer to as "Super Dave"?
"Hey, we know who the real quarterback is here -- Jeff Hostetler," Meggett said. "But I'll tell you, I'd like to be a quarterback. They get more attention."
Meggett's pass in the Giants' 15-13 victory in the NFC championship game was the first of his two-year career. It will probably be his last for some time.
But Meggett had another role against the 49ers the Giants may need against the Buffalo Bills Sunday in Super Bowl XXV at Tampa Stadium. With rookie Rodney Hampton sidelined with a broken leg, Meggett is the lone Giants back with the speed and elusiveness to run outside the tackles. Against the 49ers he rushed 10 times, more than twice his average, for 36 yards.
"I'm not going to put that kind of pressure on myself, that I have to carry X amount of the load," Meggett said. "Ottis Anderson can carry the load all by himself if need be. We'll just see what the coaching staff does, as far as using me sparingly and giving Ottis a break and seeing what we can do against the Bills as far as mixing them up and keeping them off balance."
After a rookie season in which he accounted for 1,807 all-purpose yards and was named to the Pro Bowl as a kick returner, Meggett, who is 5 feet 7 and 180 pounds, has been a target of opponents.
Last season the Giants often isolated Meggett against a linebacker in passing situations, a matchup he easily exploited. He averaged 15.6 yards per catch and three of his four touchdown receptions were beyond 50 yards.
Meggett led the Giants with 39 catches in 1990, but his yards per catch dropped to 10.5 and he had only one touchdown, a 17-yarder in the season finale against the Patriots.
This season he often was double-covered. Some teams blitzed the Giants more frequently, forcing Meggett, who usually lines up in the backfield, to stay in and block.
"We've got to give him a lot of physical attention and make him work harder than he's used to working," Bills cornerback Nate Odomes said. "When people don't make him work hard he has a great game. It's like Michael Jordan. You've got to make him work for his points."
The Bills are just as concerned with Meggett as a returner. He led the NFC in kickoff return average (23.4 yards) and was second in punt returns (10.9).
Buffalo did a good job of containing Meggett in the regular season meeting with the Giants. He returned only two of six punts for 13 yards.
"Teams that have had success playing the Giants have had success taking Meggett away," Bills safety Mark Kelso said. "We have to do something to take care of Meggett."