At this rate, David Akers' index fingers might be getting tired.
Following every successful field goal try, the 13-year veteran kicker points both of his index fingers skyward before celebrating with his teammates. Akers could be seen striking the familiar pose on Sunday, as he played a huge role in the 49ers' 27-20 win over the visiting New York Giants.
"Near perfect, if there is such a thing. That's the way David Akers has been kicking this year," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said.
The battle between NFC titans was reduced to a field goal competition well into the third quarter. Of the first 18 points, all came via the feet of kickers. But it was the 49ers (8-1) who held a 12-6 lead before the game opened up down the stretch, thanks to another perfect performance from Akers.
The left-footed kicker nailed all four of his field goal tries on the afternoon, including a 52-yarder in the second quarter, giving him a 5-for-5 mark on field goals of at least 50 yards this season. Though Akers is 37 years old, 2011 marks the first time that he has ever made more than two attempts from 50-plus yards.
"It's been a great run since I've been here," said Akers, who signed with the 49ers this offseason. "I cherish every field goal that I make and every touchback, knowing that I'm trying to do my part. That's our job so I take a lot of pride in it."
For the season, Akers is 23-of-25, and is tied for the league lead in converted field goals. Akers, who has made his last 15 tries, has already scored 91 points this season and is on pace to shatter Jerry Rice's franchise record of 138 points in a single season.
But to only describe Akers' feats of feet on Sunday wouldn't do him justice. Aside from his index fingers, Akers' shoulder also might be sore, as he was credited with a tackle on a kick return in the second quarter.
"I don't really have a problem sticking my nose in there," Akers said. "I'm pretty good at being a doormat as opposed to a good tackler. I try to have them trip over."
Akers also showed perfect execution on a successful onside kick attempt in the second quarter, the 49ers' first of the year. The kick, recovered by Delanie Walker, ultimately led to a 39-yard field goal from Akers, one which tied the game at 6-6.
Akers was quick to credit special teams coordinator Brad Seely for making the call, saying it was part of the game plan all week. Once Seely saw the Giants (6-3) were only lining up five players on the front line of their kickoff return unit, the 49ers had the green light.
"We have some great coaches and they believe in the players," Walker said. "We were watching what they were doing on kick-offs, they were bailing out of there. They dialed it up, David made a perfect kick and he made my job easy to go up there and get the ball."
Notes and Quotes
For a guy who supposedly had bad hands, Carlos Rogers isn't doing half-bad this season. The seventh-year veteran cornerback, who joined the 49ers as a free agent this offseason, recorded two interceptions off Giants quarterback Eli Manning on Sunday. It marked the first time Rogers had ever snatched two interceptions in the same game, while also vaulting him into a tie for the league lead with five.
Rogers' second pick came early in the fourth quarter and was followed up by a 17-yard touchdown run from Kendall Hunter on the next play. Hunter's touchdown made the score 27-13 and proved to be the game-winner, as the 49ers defense closed out the contest with an exciting red-zone stand.
Once Justin Smith knocked down Manning's fourth-down pass attempt from the 10-yard line with 34 seconds left, the 49ers could finally breathe easy.
"That was the play of the game," Rogers said. "If they had scored on that drive, my two picks would have meant nothing."
Rogers was just one player in the 49ers secondary which racked up six more pass breakups on Sunday, moving its league-leading total to 66 on the year. The 49ers also extended their streak of not allowing a 100-yard rusher to 31 games and still haven't given up a rushing touchdown all year.