After a dismal season, the San Francisco 49ers brought in free agent kicker Billy Cundiff in order to compete with David Akers prior to the start of the playoffs. Akers led the NFL in most missed kicks in 2012 during the regular season after posting a stellar 2011 season for the Niners. Akers has reportedly been struggling with lingering effects of a sports hernia surgery in the offseason.
Akers missed his only field goal attempt on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons. Akers’ 38-yard attempt drifted to the left in flight and eventually struck the top of the left upright. Akers was perfect on extra point attempts.
Akers miss on Sunday led to speculation that the club would bring back Cundiff in the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. However, head coach Jim Harbaugh put that speculation to rest on Monday. “The decision has been made, David Akers is out kicker” Harbaugh told reporters at his Monday press conference.
League rules might have played into Harbaugh’s statement. A player released during the post-season cannot be signed until after the Super Bowl.
I never believed that Cundiff was the answer to the Niners kicking woes. He has struggled with his own kicking issues. He was released at the start of the season by the Baltimore Ravens. He was quickly signed by the Washington Redskins but was ultimately released at mid-season because of missed kicks.