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Eric Reid Intercepts Rodgers

Posted Sep 8, 2013

The No. 18 overall pick finished his first game with six tackles, one interception and one pass breakup in San Francisco’s 34-28 win over the Green Bay Packers.

The 49ers rookie free safety had quite the challenge coming out of the gates of his NFL career.

No matter the situation, Eric Reid rose to the occasion in his debut on Sunday. The No. 18 overall pick finished his first game with six tackles, one interception and one pass breakup in San Francisco’s 34-28 win over the Green Bay Packers.

Reid’s goals were simple for his first start: record and interception and help his team be victorious.

Check and check.

Reid picked up San Francisco’s second of two, first-half turnovers in a solid showing against the Green Bay Packers.

He also became the first 49ers rookie defensive back to record an interception on Opening Day since both Don Griffin and Tim McKeyer each registered interceptions on Sept. 7, 1986 at Tampa Bay.

PHOTO GALLERY: 49ERS V. PACKERS 

Reid had his first career interception, on former NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers, no less. The rookie scooped up a deflected pass that was bobbled initially by Packers tight end Jermichael Finely.

“It was one of those covers where I read the quarterback and I broke on the throw to the receiver and the ball fell right into my hands,” said Reid, who returned the ball all the way to Green Bay’s 3-yard line, before the long return was overruled.

“I got up and started running but unfortunately I go tagged down.”

Although Reid’s long return was negated, his impact remained consistent in his first NFL start. Despite being over anxious to make a big hit which caused him to lose grip on a couple of tackles, the 49ers were pleased with the first showing of the rookie safety.

“He made some fine tackles, some open-field tackles, some physical tackles and missed a few as well and that’s something that we need to improve on as an entire defense,” Jim Harbaugh said. “A couple times wewent low and didn’t the tackle made, but it will get better.”

Reid’s teammates in the defensive backfield, starting strong safety Donte Whitner, said the missed tackles were uncharacteristic of the entire 49ers defense. The missed tackles allowed Green Bay to stay in the game and ultimately take a fourth-quarter lead.

He added, “We’re going to clean it up.”

With the score tied at 14 going into the third quarter, the 49ers maintained a bend-but-don’t-break style of play.

“With a team like that you’re going to give up points, but you don’t want to give up big plays,” Whitner said. “You want them to drive the football and force them into making mistakes and we were able to do that early in the first half.

“We know that when Green Bay is down one or two turnover in the football game, they usually lose the game.”

That was the case. In addition to Reid’s interception, NaVorro Bowman forced a fumble in the second quarter which led to a 49ers touchdown pass from Colin Kaepernick to Anquan Boldin.

Reid’s interception in the second quarter didn’t lead to 49ers points, but it slowed down the production of a talented Packers offense led by Rodgers.

Green Bay finished the game with 385 total yards of offense, but only converted four-of-10 third-down conversions.

Following San Francisco’s come-from-behind win which included key defensive stops in the fourth quarter, Reid was pleased to come out victorious in a serious Week 1 test.

“It sets the tone for the whole season by going up against one of the best quarterbacks in the entire world,” Reid said. “It is great to come out with a victory. I am looking forward to next week and continuing to get better.”

Reid will likely make better decisions in Week 2. If he gets another interception, he’ll make sure to hold on to the football after his celebration, unlike what he did in his debut.

“I don’t know what I was thinking. I wish I kept the ball,” Reid said, “but I am glad I got my first one.”

With the bigger stages set to come in a grueling schedule, the 49ers feel like Reid can handle the spotlight of running with a respected defensive unit.

“The game didn’t seem too big for him,” Whitner said. “I guess that’s from playing at LSU. He made all the right calls and he was a fierce hitter out there.”

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