Akers: 'It's been a wonderful ride'
Q: Congratulations, and how does it feel to be the NFL's new record-holder in field goals made in a season?
Akers: It's been a wonderful ride this year with the 49ers. Obviously, coming from the East coast out here, I really didn't know what to expect. But what a great group of guys just to go into a game with. We have a lot of unity out here with the guys. It's just fun to be around.
Q: How much do you feel the trust coach Jim Harbaugh has in you to get the job done in a close game, feeling comfortable running the ball in field-goal territory because they feel they can count on you?
Akers: I think he thinks I can go out and make the kicks, and that's why we even tried all those 53-yarders, and we tried the other one into the wind that we were able to connect on today. We've tried a lot of those longer kicks this year because they think we have an opportunity to make them. So that in itself is wonderful that they have that type of confidence, and it's up to me to keep that confidence going instead of them having the say, ‘Aw, man, we shouldn't try it now,' you know what I mean? So, I just think that if they feel like we have three-points possibility, let's run it. It's not like we're just saying, OK, were just going to run the ball and not get a first down. Frank was running pretty well today, and so was Kendall. I looked up at the board at one point and we had 160 yards rushing. So you're moving the ball all right. People have said to me, ‘Well, my goodness, you're going down and their and settling for three.' I don't really look at it as we're settling, or we're stalling or whatever. But, you're not punting. You're putting points on the board. That's a big thing. Obviously, touchdowns add up quite a bit faster than three points, as we saw. They had a great special teams play, blocking the punt and went down and scored shortly after that. It gets you right back in the game. We were able to dominate the whole second half, but were only up by six points at that point. And if we would have gotten down there and gotten some touchdowns, obviously it would have been a bigger spread. But ultimately, it's the way we've played most of this year, is to move the ball and we're real conservative on not turning it over and protecting the football. And our defense is balling out, and then special teams are playing well. Leon Washington, you know he's going to bring the ball out every time, and we stopped him inside the 20-yard line four times. That's a big, big stat that kind of gets overlooked. But when we're talking about the field-position battle, that's huge.
Q: You were in some championship locker rooms in Philadelphia. How do those compare to what you're experience in this locker room with the 49ers this year?
Akers: Well, you hit the nail on the head there. It's a confidence versus a cockiness. You've got guys that are playing together, are trusting each other. The offensive line does a great job protecting. You know the D-line, it's always going to be a battle for other teams to go against them. Together as a team, we're working together. It's a bunch of clichés, but that's what it is. As contagious as winning is, losing is the other way as well. We've played in playoff atmosphere games the last two weeks. We need to keep winning to get that No. 2 seed, and obviously the Seattle Seahawks needed a win today to even stay alive. So it's one of those things that it was a playoff atmosphere, it was loud out there, they gave it everything they had. And when you can see when you have adversity and you're able to respond, that's what you're talking about as far as seeing a championship team develop.
Q: Did something happen today in halftime adjustments to cause that dramatic change in the second half?
Akers: It's kind of a collaboration of the meeting of the minds, if you will. They try to kind of figure out what's working, what's not working, and hopefully build a game plan off that.
Q: What was your feeling about the way Alex Smith was able to make some plays in the clutch, and what have you seen in his progression?
Akers: I can only talk about what I've seen from Alex this year. From what I've seen, I've seen a guy get more comfortable in a new, and yet another offensive scheme that he has to run. And he's done a lot of managing the field out there. He doesn't turn the ball over. He protects the ball, he makes plays, he's got a grit about him that he never gives up, and you want that as a leader. He's kind of the soft-spoken guy in the locker room. He doesn't get too animated, and I see guys that rally around that. He's confident, we're confident in him, and what he's done is he manages the team. And people say that's another wonderful cliché you're using, but what happens is, if you're winning, and you've got 12 wins, you're doing something right. You're leading by example that way. So I'm proud of him. I think he's done a fantastic job. I like at wins and how you lead a team. If you look at that, he's done nothing short of being what be considered a Pro Bowler in my opinion.
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