Just a year removed from hitting an NFL regular-season record 44 field goals, San Francisco 49ers kicker David Akers is headed to his second career Super Bowl appearance in the midst of what many would consider a serious slump.
In the midst of an uncharacteristic season, however, Akers continues to have the support of his 49ers coach, Jim Harbaugh, who insisted to CBS Sports on Sunday that Akers isn't in a slump, but is hitting the ball well and is the clear choice for the job.
Missing on 14 of his last 38 tries and connecting on less than half of his attempts from 40 yards or more away, Akers fought for, and won, the right to keep his spot as San Francisco's kicker in the days leading up to the 49ers' first playoff appearance.
And despite missing one of the two field goal attempts he has taken combined in wins against the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons to give the 49ers a berth in the Super Bowl against the Baltimore Ravens, Harbaugh has not seen anywhere close to enough to sway him from trusting Akers in the biggest game of the year.
"We all have great faith in David," Harbaugh told CBS Sports. "I believe he's really been hitting the ball well consistently now for weeks. I can't agree that he is in a slump."
Akers, for his part, is using his team and coach's confidence in him as a reason to continue to believe in himself.
"The team obviously has faith in me," Akers said. "They kept me here, so I'm going to go out and give everything I have every time. That's my mentality."