A career-worst season, and a playoff kick off the uprights is not enough to shake the 49ers’ confidence in David Akers.
(Other, than of course, the fact they brought in another kicker earlier this month.)
But 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh denied that his kicker was in a slump, saying the team has nothing but belief in Akers.
“We all have great faith in David,” Harbaugh said, via Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. “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.”
Akers said the fact they haven’t gone in at his previous rate (he’s at 69 percent this year, and is a career 81 percent on field goals) didn’t make sense to him, because he feels as consistent as ever.
“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.”
Kicking field goals is a muscle-memory business, and Akers said he can only fall back on his fundamentals.
“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.”
It’s easy for Harbaugh to say he trusts Akers, because he has to say that. The real test will be if they face a fourth-and-short around the 35 or so, and whether he turns that faith into action.