SANTA CLARA Despite being in the worst rut of his 14-career, David Akers held off Billy Cundiff to be the 49ers' kicker Saturday evening against Green Bay, coach Jim Harbaugh announced Thursday.
The 49ers signed Cundiff last week after Akers missed field-goal attempts from 40 and 44 yards in the regular-season finale against Arizona.
"He responded like a football player does," Harbaugh said of Akers and the six-day kicking competition. "(He) competed, and (there's) not really more to say about it."
The 49ers' coach offered no additional information on why he tapped Akers, 38, over Cundiff, 32, but a day earlier said that Akers was striking the ball well in practice.
"So far, so good," Harbaugh said Wednesday. "He's had a very good week this week and last week."
Practice, however, has not been Akers' issue this season, and his practice stability helped persuade the 49ers not to make any moves at the position until recently. Akers' problems have come in games.
He kicked a record-tying 63-yard field goal in Week 1 in Green Bay but has struggled from long distances since then. He has missed 10 of 19 kicks from 40 yards or more and has a 69 percent field-goal percentage this season.
He also missed two potential game-winning kicks in overtime, from 41 and 51 yards, in games against St. Louis this season.
Akers revealed last week that he had double-hernia surgery last February following a 2011 season in which he kicked an NFL-record 44 field goals. He said he aggravated the injury in midseason and flew back to Philadelphia for treatment after the 49ers' victory against New Orleans on Nov. 25. Akers was 1 of 3 on field-goal attempts in that game.
Only one full-time kicker, Green Bay's Mason Crosby, fared worse during the regular season. Crosby has a 63.6 field-goal percentage. Cundiff had a 58.3 percentage before he was waived by Washington after five games.
Harbaugh said Cundiff would remain on the 53-man roster but probably wouldn't suit up for the team's divisional playoff game against the Packers.
Cundiff and Akers have split repetitions since the 49ers started practicing last week on Thursday. Before Monday's practice, Harbaugh said "a leader in the clubhouse" presumably Akers had emerged.
Between the two kickers, Akers is the only one with game experience at Candlestick Park. Cundiff took his first Candlestick repetitions Monday afternoon.
Injuries There were no changes to the 49ers' practice report Thursday.
Defensive end Justin Smith, wearing a carbon-fiber brace on his left arm, was listed as limited, as were fellow starters Aldon Smith (shoulder), Dashon Goldson (shoulder), Tarell Brown (shoulder) and Bruce Miller (shoulder).
For the Packers, wide receivers Randall Cobb (illness) and Jordy Nelson (ankle) returned to practice on a limited basis after missing Wednesday's session.
Good News Bay Area rock band Huey Lewis & The News, who have been staples of 49ers pregame festivities for decades, will perform the national anthem Saturday. Asked if he was a fan, Harbaugh said, "Who isn't? The quintessential '80s guy that's me."
Harbaugh said he also was excited that the Candlestick Park end zones would be painted red, another 49ers postseason tradition that dates to 1981.