Skip to main content

Kenneth Acker Builds Confidence with Second Career Interception

Kenneth Acker has two interceptions in six career games in the National Football League.

The San Francisco 49ers cornerback's second takeaway was a critical moment in Sunday's 25-20 home victory over the Baltimore Ravens. It took place on the visiting team's opening possesion of the second half from midfield.

Acker's interception, the second turnover of the day thrown by quarterback Joe Flacco, appeared to happen in slow motion, according to the young cornerback.

"I actually didn't see the quarterback throw the ball," Acker told reporters on Monday. "I just heard some guy yell, 'Ball!'' I looked, and it was coming towards me.

"It was pretty intense waiting for it to come down. It took a while to get to me."

Acker returned the takeaway 45 yards up the middle of the field to help set up a 42-yard Phil Dawson field goal. The kick gave the home team a 19-6 lead in the third quarter.

Flacco responded with a pair of touchdown passes, the first of which went to Steve Smith Sr., who slipped past Acker's coverage and created separation in veteran wide receiver fashion. The 49ers cornerback signaled to the referee that the Ravens wideout had pushed off on the play, but no flag was thrown.

A day later, Acker was rather coy on the subject when asked if Smith Sr. had created contact illegally to haul in the 34-yard throw from Flacco.

"You should ask him," Acker said. "My back was turned, I don't know what happened. ... They say he didn't push me, so I guess he didn't."

Trailing by five points with 1:06 left to play, Flacco tried to lead another scoring drive, but the Ravens quarterback was unable to complete his 53rd pass attempt of the day. Flacco's deep ball from 35 yards out on the game's final pay was knocked down by 49ers safety Eric Reid.

San Francisco's defense had preserved a victory.

Considering what happened in a Week 5 loss to the New York Giants when the 49ers allowed a go-ahead score with less than a minute left in the game, Acker said it was a good feeling to walk off the field having the defense make the final play.

"You never want to go down to the wire with it like that," the cornerback said. "It feels a little better to be a little more comfortable at the end of the game. Being in the situation before kind of helped us out a little bit."

San Francisco's defense has faced a number of pass-heavy offenses in recent weeks, but Week 7 will feature a familiar foe, the Seattle Seahawks.

Led by Russell Wilson, Seattle ranks 27th in passing offense (214.5 yards per game) and second in rushing offense (137.8 yards per game).

Acker has never played in the NFC West rivalry game, but he's well aware of how Wilson loves to extend plays.

"You know that at any point you can't relax and let your receiver get away from you," the cornerback said

Also new to this 49ers-Seahawks matchup is tight end Jimmy Graham, who caught eight passes for 140 yards in a loss to the Carolina Panthers last week.

Acker expressed confidence in defensive coordinator Eric Mangini's ability to prepare for upcoming opponents. In this case, it could be a heavy dose of the Pro Bowl tight end.

"I feel like he has a knack for what teams are going to throw at us," Acker said. "I think it's going to be a gameplan type of thing, and it's up to us to go out there and execute it." Coming off back-to-back games against aggressive passing teams, Acker said his teammates in the secondary are in great shape. Acker cited up-tempo practices in the Bay Area and the fact that the 49ers have defended 32-plus passes in every game this season and 46-or-more passes in their last two outings.

"It's fun," Acker said. "I guess as a DB you want to see more passes. It does take a toll on the body as the games on, but I think it helps us out in the long run. ... No matter how many plays it goes, you feel like you've done it before."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.