As goes kicker David Akers, so go the 49ers?
Akers was a huge reason the 49ers won 14 games last season, making a franchise-record 44 field goals seven of them from 50 yards or beyond.
The 49ers of 2011 moved the ball well between the 20-yard lines, but no worries Akers was always there to make sure San Francisco put points on the board.
In the 2012 season opener at Green Bay, it seemed Akers was going to be just as reliable if not more so when he made that incredible 63-yard field goal just before halftime in the 49ers' victory over the Packers.
But since then Akers has not lived up to his Pro Bowl season of 2011. In 15 games, he's been successful on 27 of 38 field goals, making 71.1 percent of his attempts and ranking among the bottom in the NFL. His two missed field goals in the two overtime games against the St. Louis Rams cost the 49ers victories.
That's the difference between a 12-3 record and a 10-4-1 mark.
If the 38-year-old veteran hasn't been bothered by his struggles, a death threat on Twitter hasn't helped.
Surprisingly, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh the same coach who benched the NFC's top quarterback at the time for a second-year player with no experience has stuck with his kicker. It could be a decision that Harbaugh will be thankful he made or later regret.
For Akers, his job is on the line in the postseason. A game-winning kick or simply regaining his form could save Akers from being cut from the last year on his contract in 2013.
A missed field goal especially with the game on the line would certainly be enough reason to give him the boot.
What to watch
NFL, 49ers vs. Arizona, 1:25 p.m., FOX40: A victory clinches the second consecutive NFC West title for San Francisco.
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