TAMPA, Fla. – Rookie Eric Reid had a convoy set up to deliver him into the end zone for his first NFL touchdown.
Instead, he went to the ground and voluntarily gave up his chance at glory. For him, an interception was just fine.
With the 49ers leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 33-14 on the first play after the two-minute warning, Reid tipped a Mike Glennon pass in the air and then secured the interception.
Despite having five 49ers defenders -- and willing blockers -- lined up to escort him into the end zone, Reid decided to go to the ground at the Tampa Bay 22-yard line. Reid said he did not want to score a touchdown. Because if he had scored, the 49ers would have kicked off and there would’ve been more defensive plays.
This way, the 49ers offense could take a knee three times to run out the clock.
“We’re going into the end of the year, and we wanted to preserve our bodies and let’s go home,” said Reid, who tied Tramaine Brock for the team lead with his fourth interception.
Reid said the 49ers are coached what to do in late-game situations. So he was ready to do the right thing.
“We practice two-minute on Thursdays, so you know those situations in the game,” he said. “We know they’re trying to score and we’re trying to keep them out of the end zone. So if we get the turnover, just go ahead and get down.
“I looked up and saw nothing but white jerseys, you kind of think about it. But at the end of the day, I think I made the right decision.”
And it appears as if the 49ers made the right decision, too, in trading up to select Reid with the No. 18 overall pick to replace Dashon Goldson. The 49ers opted against paying big money to retain Goldson, who signed a five-year, $41.25 million contract with $17.5 million guaranteed.
Goldson had five tackles and a pass broken up in his first game against his former teammates.