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January 14, 2013
Harbaugh on Akers: 'David's our kicker'

SANTA CLARA -- After holding off Billy Cundiff last week in a competition for kicking duties against the Packers, David Akers converted his lone field goal attempt in the 49ers' 45-31 divisional round win -- a 36-yarder that gave San Francisco a 24-21 lead going into halftime. It appears that was enough for Akers to maintain his hold on the job.

Asked today if the two kickers would compete again this week in practice, head coach Jim Harbaugh responded: "David's our kicker." Cundiff, though, remains on the 49ers' roster. The 49ers will be playing indoors Sunday at the Georgia Dome, against the top-seeded Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship Game.

Akers converted 69 percent of his field-goal attempts during the regular season. Four of his 13 misses came in the three games the 49ers played indoors, in which Akers went 5-for-9 on field goals. Two of the misses were blocked attempts -- from 43 yards at Minnesota and from 33 at New Orleans. The others were a 50-yard attempt at New Orleans (wide left) and a 51-yard attempt at St. Louis (wide right). He was 4-of-4 from inside 30 yards and also converted a 33-yard kick at St. Louis.

Akers revealed earlier this season that he had double-hernia surgery last February, and it was after the New Orleans game, in which Akers went 1-for-3, that the 38-year-old flew to Philadelphia for treatment after aggravating the injury.

* Harbaugh said defensive anchor Justin Smith, who played for the first time Saturday since partially tearing his left triceps tendon Dec. 16, made it through the game "about as clean as possible." Smith was on the field for 91 percent of the 49ers' defensive snaps (53 of 58).

Harbaugh did not have an update on left tackle Joe Staley, who said Saturday night that he played much of the game with a bone bruise in his forearm. Staley played a big part along with guard Mike Iupati in protecting quarterback Colin Kaepernick from Packers linebacker Clay Matthews and in helping pave the way for the 49ers' 323 rushing yards.

-- Matt Kawahara


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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