Meggett stars, but blames himself in loss

October 31, 1994|By Jeff Bradley | Jeff Bradley,New York Daily News

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It was as if, in one exhilarating moment, Dave Meggett had returned to the New York Giants. After three weeks of everyone wondering where he had been and when he would return, there was Meggett flying in under a punt and weaving from one sideline to the other for a 56-yard touchdown run.

Meggett's return, which ended up bringing the Giants even, 18-18, with the Detroit Lions in the fourth quarter, looked like a game-breaker, a losing-streak-ender.

It was not the only contribution from the former Towson State standout yesterday. He had broken a 16-yard run and caught three passes for 21 yards.

Yet there was Meggett at the end of the day, calling himself a "knucklehead," blaming himself for the 28-25 overtime loss because he moved too soon on third-and-three on the Giants' one OT possession, and saying he has heard enough talk about his role, or lack thereof.

"Me being a part of the game plan is becoming a distraction," Meggett said. "It's becoming a pain, to be honest. I'm a team player. I don't care if I ever play a down as long as we win the game."

Of course, the Giants have not won since Week 3, when Meggett was carrying the bulk of the offensive load while Rodney Hampton was on the mend. If anything was apparent yesterday, it was that Meggett is the Giants' big-play threat. Still, Meggett wanted to pin the loss on himself. On third-and-three with the Lions showing blitz, Meggett got antsy.

"A lot of the responsibility for this loss falls on myself," Meggett said. "Because I'm making crazy mistakes, things that I shouldn't be doing, jumping offside. I take the blame for the loss.

"I wanted to attack the blitz from the beginning. I wanted [quarterback] Dave [Brown] to be able to step up in the pocket and make a nice throw. That was my fault. I knew the count, and I still jumped. Ignorant mistake by a veteran. You've got 60, 70 plays in a game, and you never know which one's going to cost you.

"One negative thing can overtake all the good things you do. That play took us out of the opportunity to get a first down. And it was my fault. Me, knucklehead, a veteran, I cost the team that drive. I believe that play cost us the game."

Without Meggett, the Giants wouldn't have been in overtime. The punt return, his second for a touchdown this year and the sixth of his career, put the Giants back in the game after the Lions had reeled off 16 points, after Brown had again been intercepted for a touchdown.

Meggett fielded the ball on the Giants' 44 and took off to the right sideline, where the Lions appeared to have him trapped and down. But Meggett slammed on the brakes and watched the Lions run past the play. He took off the other way and was on his way to the end zone.

"It came at the right time," Meggett said. "It gave our team a great momentum swing and a great boost of confidence. We hadn't made a big play in four weeks, and we did there. I thought it came at the right time."

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