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Shutdown Corner

Did Atlanta’s Asante Samuel’s smack talk lead to David Akers’ field goal miss for San Francisco?

Shutdown Corner

David Akers hasn't had a great season. The San Francisco 49ers kicker has struggled, and that didn't change when his team was down by three to the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship, a game that San Francisco went on to win 28-24.

In the third quarter, David Akers missed a 38-yard field goal that would have tied the game. The ball hit off the top of the left field goal with a thunk that signaled Akers' futility on the kick. Atlanta's fans went crazy, Jim Harbaugh made a sad face, and the 49ers remained down by three.

But Fox's cameras showed that the miss may have been spurned on by an old teammate of Akers. Asante Samuel, a cornerback for the Falcons, was shown jawing at Akers before the kick. The two were teammates on the Philadelphia Eagles, when Akers was a much more effective kicker.

For the 2012 season, Akers' field goal percentage is just 69 percent. In the previous four seasons, it hovered in the low-to-mid eighties. The 49ers even brought in Billy Cundiff for a few weeks to compete with Akers.

Perhaps Samuel was just reminding Akers of his kicking problems this season, or maybe he was just giving Akers some restaurant suggestions in Atlanta.

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