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December 30, 2012
Harbaugh on Akers: "It's his job to make field goals."


Jim Harbaugh, who has publicly supported David Akers during a slump that's lasted most of the season, wavered for the first time Sunday after the kicker missed two more field goals.

Akers was wide left from 44 and 40 yards as the 49ers tried to get back in the game in the second quarter. In the second half, Harbaugh twice elected to go for it on fourth down rather than attempt long Akers' field goals from 54 and 48 yards. The 49ers converted both attempts.

Asked if the 49ers had to make a change before their first playoff game in two weeks, Harbaugh hesitated, then said, "I don't know if we have to. We'll evaluate the position. ... It's his job to make the field goals, you know. It's not to his standard."

Akers mostly has been solid inside of 40 yards, connecting on 18 of 23 attempts. Beyond 40 yards, however, has been hit or miss as the 14-year veteran is 6-10 between 40 and 49 yards and is just two of six beyond 50 yards. That includes an NFL-record-tying 63-yard field goal in the season opener in Green Bay.

Earlier this year, Akers was dealing with a pelvic injury. Harbaugh said he didn't think the kicker, voted to the Pro Bowl last year, was doing anything wrong mechanically. "Not that I know of," Harbaugh said. "The practices have been good mechanically. No, I can't exactly say what's going on."

The 49ers have given tryouts to at least two veteran kickers, Nate Kaeding and Billy Cundiff, both of whom have a history of playoff misfires. Kaeding was signed by the Dolphins last week.

Akers was not available after the game. The 49ers can add as many free agents as they want until Wednesday at 1 p.m. After that, they only are able to make four roster moves beyond promoting their current practice squad players to the 53-man roster.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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