Harbaugh on Akers: 'It's his job to make the field goals'
SAN FRANCISCO -- Kicker David Akers' rough season continued Sunday with two missed field goals in the 49ers' division-clinching victory over the Arizona Cardinals.
The 49ers open the NFC playoffs on Saturday, Jan. 12 at 5:00 p.m. PST, and the club has reason to have lost confidence in Akers, who set the NFL record with 44 field goals last season.
When asked if the 49ers have to think about changing kickers for the playoffs, coach Jim Harbaugh answered, "I don't know that we have to. We'll evaluate the position. It's his job to make the field goals. And it's not to his standard."
Akers, who was not available to speak with reporters afterward, appears to have lost confidence in himself, too. He agonized over his misses on the sideline and even seemed dissatisfied with the way he struck an attempt that he made. Harbaugh was asked if Akers' problem is mechanical.
"Not that I know of," Harbaugh said. "In the practices, it has been good mechanically. No, I don't . . . can't exactly say what's going on."
Akers did not hit the ball well in his four field-goal attempts on Sunday in the 49ers' 27-13 victory. He missed wide left from 44 and 40 yards before squeezing in a 43-yarder inside the left upright in the third quarter. He later made a kick from 26 yards. After missing late in the first half, Akers took off his helmet and fired it at the team bench.
He opened the season with a 63-yard field goal -- tying the NFL record -- in a Week 1 victory against the Green Bay Packers. But since that time, he has been wildly inconsistent. Akers has made just 29 of 42 field-goal attempts, including 9 of 19 from beyond 40 yards.
Several weeks ago, the 49ers worked out veteran kickers Nate Kaeding and Billy Cundiff. Kaeding recently signed with the Miami Dolphins. Cundiff is still available as a free agent. However, Cundiff has his own history of late-season failures. Cundiff missed a potential game-tying, 32-yarder against New England in the waning seconds of the AFC Championship game last season, preventing the John Harbaugh-coached Baltimore Ravens from a chance at the Super Bowl. Veterans Neil Rackers and John Kasay are also available.