Akers: Struggles have been a 'head scratcher'
"I'm still going to be positive about going into this game, 60 minutes away from possibility of being a world champion." (USA TODAY IMAGES)
SANTA CLARA -- Slump? What slump?
Coach Jim Harbaugh on Friday bristled at the suggestion 49ers kicker David Akers is experiencing a slump. And a short time later, Akers said his low field-goal percentage is puzzling because he has been consistent throughout the season in practices and warmup sessions.
"I felt good all year," Akers said. "Just doing the same thing in practice we've done all year. And wish those points would've counted in games. I had a great practice season, and training camp and pre-games. So it's one of those things.
"It's been a head-scratcher. But I'm still going to be positive about going into this game, 60 minutes away from possibility of being a world champion."
Akers' next kick could be the biggest of his 14-year career, as he will handle all the kicks for the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII against the Baltimore Ravens after going through the most inconsistent full season of his NFL tenure.
Akers made 29 of 42 field-goal attempts (69 percent) in the regular season. His previous worst season was 2005 with the Philadelphia Eagles when he made 72.7 percent of his attempts. The 49ers signed veteran Billy Cundiff on Jan. 1 and held a competition that Akers won for the right to kick for the 49ers in the playoffs.
After making a 36-yard field goal for the 49ers in their 45-31 victory over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC divisional round, Akers missed a 38-yard attempt in the third quarter of the NFC Championship Game against the Atlanta Falcons with the 49ers trailing 24-21.
"You look at the kicks, it's so minute on how far they're off," Akers said. "We're talking inches on a lot of kicks. That's a frustrating thing because an inch is a mile in our game, from 63 hitting the pole and going over to hitting the top of the eyelet last week. One's in and one's out. One's a record breaker and one doesn't tie the game."
Akers tied the NFL record for longest field goal in the season opener at Green Bay when his attempt from 63 yards hit the cross bar and bounced through the uprights.
Akers did not blame injuries on his performance. He underwent a double sports hernia in February, but has been available to kick in every game this season.
Now, he has to rebound to kick on the most pressure-packed stage on Feb. 3 at the Superdome in New Orleans.
"It's no different than a relief pitcher or a (defensive back) who got burned on a long play," Akers said. "You got to go out and let body mechanics take over. There's nothing really to do. The team obviously has faith in me. They kept me here. I'm going to go out. I'm going to give everything I have every time and that's the mentality I got."
Said Harbaugh, "We all have great faith in David. He's done a lot for our team. I believe he's really hitting the ball well, consistently for weeks. I can't agree that he is in a slump. All he can do is make the snap and make the hold, give great protection and him keep hitting the ball. And we have confidence those will go in."