Editor's note: This is the third part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Seahawks matchups to watch Sunday, 5:30 p.m., at CenturyLink Field
49ers FS Eric Reid vs. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson
Tale of the tape
Reid (35): 6 foot 1, 213 pounds, rookie, LSU
Wilson (3): 5 foot 11, 206 pounds, second season, Wisconsin
There’s no greater test for a rookie defensive back than going against Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers in his debut.
But things will not get much easier Sunday night, as free safety Eric Reid faces a different kind of challenge in Week 2.
The assignment against the Packers was simple. And 49ers defensive lineman Justin Smith even reminded Reid in the tunnel heading out to the field not to allow any plays behind him.
But with Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, the task that faces Reid is to hold up for a potentially longer period of time in coverage.
Few quarterbacks in the NFL can extend a play like Wilson, who threw for a career-high 320 yards in an opening-week victory over the Carolina Panthers. The Seahawks’ only touchdown came on Wilson’s 43-yard pass to Jermaine Kearse.
“When he starts running around, now you have to defend the second play,” 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said of Wilson. “He’s very quick, very elusive, and when he does run, he’s very fast because he’s a 4.4 guy and he’s very quick to get to his full speed. His lack of height actually helps him, I think, in that because he’s less of a target to get to. He’s a tough assignment.”
Obviously, the 49ers expected to Reid to win the starting job all along after moving up 13 spots in the first round to select him with the No. 18 overall pick. But, then, the LSU product left no doubt when he won the starting job over veterans Craig Dahl and C.J. Spillman after three games in the exhibition season.
Reid had a strong debut while taking over for veteran Dashon Goldson, who signed a lucrative free agent contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the offseaon. Reid recorded seven tackles – though he also missed two tackles -- and intercepted a deflected Rodgers pass in his first NFL game.
“He did really well in the opener,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Reid. “He had a good preseason. He’s an extraordinarily talented guy. I don’t think it’s any surprise that he’s playing well. He was highly regarded by everyone in the draft. I would think everyone loved the guy.”
Reid’s job will be to limit the number of big plays the Seahawks are able to get from wide receivers Golden Tate, Sidney Rice and Doug Baldwin – especially on plays in which Wilson begins improvising.
“He knows how to move around in the pocket and extend the play and put the ball in his receivers’ hands, “ Reid said. “Some of the plays are kind of crazy, how he manages to get the ball away when he’s about to get sacked. We just have to depend on the rush to get pressure on him, and us in the secondary to stay in tight coverage.”