ATLANTA — The 49ers are going to New Orleans. But is David Akers?
The struggling placekicker suffered another setback in San Francisco's 28-24 win, missing a 38-yard field-goal attempt in the third quarter that would have tied the game. Kicking off smooth artificial turn, with no breeze except for the Georgia Dome air conditioning, Akers bounced the ball off the left upright.
“Three inches to the right, and I would have had a perfect game today,” Akers said afterward. “I had touchbacks, real deep balls so they couldn't get returns. Felt really good going out and kicking the ball. ... Again, one of those things where I keep scratching my head, you know?”
After Akers' inconsistent regular season, the 49ers brought in castoff Billy Cundiff to compete for the kicking duties. They kept both kickers on the roster for two weeks, but cut Cundiff on Friday and left the job in Akers' hands.
And now? Who knows?
“I'm here till they tell me otherwise,” Akers said.
His teammates continue to back him. “Dave, he's a veteran,” linebacker NaVorro Bowman said. “He's been in this league. We know he's a great kicker. We don't get down on our teammates.”
THE OTHER SIDE OF KAEPERNICK
A week ago, Colin Kaepernick set a record for rushing yards by a quarterback, churning out 181 against the befuddled Green Bay Packers. The 49ers didn't run as many read-option plays against Atlanta, and when they did, the Falcons did a great job of squeezing the ends and forcing Kaepernick to hand off.
His ground numbers Sunday: two carries, 21 yards.
“Only two, huh?” right guard Alex Boone asked. “Frank (Gore) probably wanted the ball more. Frank probably just kept taking it from him.”
And yet no one could say the Falcons shut down Kaepernick. He made the right decisions, moved well in the pocket when pressured, and completed 16 of 21 passes for 233 yards and a touchdown, with no interceptions. Not bad considering the 49ers played out of a 17-0 deficit.