We take a look at David Akers performance in recent weeks, and how much concern is truly merited.
Earlier today, Mike Sando put together a post about how David Akers really is not slumping in spite of some of his recent misses. A few people have linked it, so I thought I'd pull it out, and also do a little research myself. Sando's basic premise was that the 49ers improved red zone performance means fewer field goals of less than 40 yards for Akers to pad his stats. The 49ers are scoring touchdowns on 61.5% of their red zone opportunities, compared with a conversion rate of 40.7% last year.
Down below I have listed out all of Akers field goal attempts and their results. He started the season strong converting five field goals, including 3 of 3 from 40 to 49 and one from 63-yard. Sando took a look at the overall numbers, and when you consider the whole season, his numbers are not exactly shocking.
However, as Bay Area Sports Guy noted yesterday, the key might be to really focus in on Akers' numbers from Week 3 to the present. After a strong start, Akers has stumbled mightily from 40+. His number overall aren't awful, but as BASG pointed out, from Week 3 to present, Akers is 3 for 7 on 40-49 yard attempts and 0 for 2 on 50+.
This is also a small sample size, so I suppose that is one consideration. However, if he is not mired in a slump, there is definitely a concern about confidence. Coach Harbaugh said on Monday that he has confidence in Akers, but the team also did not let him attempt a 55 yarder with just under two minutes left in the first half. There were obviously some field position concerns, but this also indicates Harbaugh is less confident that Akers could hit that 55-yarder. That's reasonable, but I have to think that shows a little bit of a chip in confidence.
And of course, fan confidence is plummeting. While I am not quite at Jose Cortez worry-level when Akers comes on the scene, there is still concern in my mind. I don't expect the 49ers to make a change anytime soon, but when Akers is going out there for 40+ yard field goals, I just don't have the same confidence as before. That is the life of an NFL kicker, I suppose.
Sando makes a good point about Akers overall numbers, but if you remove the first two weeks of the season, the picture changes a bit. This could be cherry-picking to some extent, but given the momentum and flow of a season, I don't think it is quite cherry-picking by removing the first two. What do you think? Are we overthinking this? Is there an issue? To quote Vince Lombardi, "What the hell's going on out here?!"
35-yard good - penalty gives them first down
55-yard no good
40-yard no good
43-yard no good
52-yard no good
41-yard no good (OT)