David Akers: The Game-Changer!

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 6: Place kicker David Akers #2 of the San Francisco 49ers kicks his second field goal of the first half againsr the Washington Redskins at FedExField on November 6, 2011 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Normally I would use this particularly post to look at a specific game-changing play. To continue with the midseason review format though, I thought I'd look at a player who has been a game-changer for the San Francisco 49ers. Normally the kicker is easily overlooked except when he misses a kick. However, 49ers kicker David Akers has been such an integral part of this team that he deserves some additional recognition.

When Akers came to town, he was replacing Joe Nedney, who had spent six seasons with the 49ers. Nedney had some injuries towards the end, but he was one of the most consistent 49ers kickers in recent memory. Inside 40 yards, Nedney was absolutely money. Thankfully, the 49ers kicking game hasn't missed a beat with Akers.

As the 49ers roll up records they haven't touched in years, David Akers set one record of his own on Sunday. His 52-yard field goal that got the 49ers on the board in the first quarter was his fourth 50+ field goal of the season. That is a 49ers single-season record, and we're only halfway through the season. What's possibly more impressive is that Akers is on pace to break Jerry Rice's single-season scoring record. Jerry Rice scored 138 points in 1987 and David Akers has 78 halfway through the season. It's worth noting that Jerry Rice only played 12 games that season. That's just a little bit amazing.

Given the 49ers offensive struggles at times, having a strong kicking is an essential cornerstone of the team. The 49ers special teams has been strong as a whole and Akers has been a pivotal part of that. Ideally the 49ers would be punching in more of these possessions for touchdowns, but having Akers around is the next best thing. The 49ers appear to be built more for low-scoring battles, creating all the more value for a money kicker.

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