Eric Reid, Panthers Bruiser Mike Tolbert to Reunite


The last time the 49ers faced the Panthers, San Francisco safety Eric Reid was bulled over – and concussed by – Carolina running back Mike Tolbert.

Reid's second concussion cost him most of the second half in his team's eventual 10-9 defeat.

"Unfinished business? You could say that," Reid said, responding to a reporter's question about the players' reunion on Sunday as part of the NFC Divisional round. "This is a new season. The playoffs (represent) a new year. We get another shot at 'em."

As defensive coaches have reminded Reid and his teammates, the postseason can often be more physical than the regular. Players are fighting for pennants and officials aren't always raring to pull penalty flags out of their pockets.

"They got away with stuff. We got away with stuff," Reid said of the gritty secondary play seen in the 49ers-Packers Wild Card game last weekend. "You just can't be too blatant about it."

Reid and San Francisco's defense should expect more of the same against Carolina, which was clearly its forceful self in Week 10.

From Tolbert, still a threat as the Panthers goal-line running back, Reid learned a valuable lesson, which he detailed in November.

"I paid a little bit more attention to guys' weights," he said, referencing Tolbert, who is listed at 245 pounds but could be closer to 255. "Those guys, I'm going to hit lower. Just trying to be smart about it."

It's not a surprise to coaches that Reid wasn't called for a single penalty during his rookie season while still playing with enough aggressiveness to snare four interceptions and recover two fumbles.

"He's a very smart guy, very mature," 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. "He's emotionally stable. Very coachable and the game's not too big for him.

"He just needs to learn who he's tackling, the angles that are involved and the momentum that are involved and tackle accordingly. (Tolbert's) 250 pounds and on that particular play he was rolling downhill pretty good."


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