Philadelphia Eagles News

Akers' 16th Straight FG Gives Eagles The Win

In a game tied up at 24, the Eagles' offense got the ball on their own 20-yard line with 5:35 left on the clock with the chance to drive down the field and take the lead over the Washington Redskins. The offense did its part, going 66 yards on 10 plays, reaching the Redskins' 14-yard-line, but the work wasn't yet done - David Akers still needed to convert the 32-yard field goal.

But that's about the most reliable thing the Eagles have going these days, as Akers knocked it through the uprights to give the Eagles the game-winning points in their 27-24 victory. It was Akers' fourth made field goal of the game, and his 16th straight converted field goal, dating back to the Oakland Raiders game.

"I've been feeling pretty good for a while, a couple years," Akers said after the game. "Sometimes kicks don't go in, and ... the only thing I can do is look at my field goals in games and my field goals in practice and try to compare what am I doing different. I've had (holder) Sav (Rocca) and (long snapper) Jon (Dorenbos) for three yeears, and they're doing a phenomenal job. The line's doing a great job blocking."

It was the 14th game in Akers' 11-year career with the Eagles that he's made at least four field goals. He also made field goals of 41, 29 and 24 yards. His 11 made field goals of over 40 yards this season is the most in the NFC and is already the second-highest such mark of his career - he nailed a team-record 17 in 2004.

But for Akers, there is no difference in his approach whether it's the game-winner or a seemingly innocuous first-quarter kick.

"I've missed kicks in the middle of the game that turned out to be the deciding factor," he said, "For me, I just don't want to be the decision-maker for the team to lose. I just really feel blessed to be out here and have the ability to do it 11 years with the same team.

"Honestly, going into halftime, I felt just as much pressure on that kick as I did (on the game-winner). I'm just really happy that we had the opportunity and showed the heart that we have to give us the opportunity."

Akers' contributions this season don't go unnoticed in the locker room.

"I don't know why we make it so tough, it shouldn't be that tough on Dave, but he's definitely clutch," said cornerback Sheldon Brown. "He's money. And I don't think anybody realizes the importance of that thing until, look at the long snapper too, everybody overlooks that stuff until it comes to that play. And they only have one shot to be a zero or a hero, and for us, (Akers) has been a hero."

Even though he made every kick against the Redskins, it wasn't a perfect day for Akers. On the opening kickoff of the game, Akers and the Eagles attempted an onside kick. Although the Redskins appeared caught off-guard, the ball hit Joe Mays before it had traveled 10 yards, and then caromed to the Redskins' Quinton Ganther. The Redskins took advantage of the good field position with a four-play touchdown drive to take a 7-0 lead.

"We took a chance and we spotted them seven," Akers said. "We practice it several times all through the year, and that's the first time we've hit a player.

"It's one of those things, you're trying something, it's a gimmick type of play, and you're trying something so it's not always going to work."

Still, all that matters in the end is the three-point margin of victory achieved off the left leg of the veteran kicker.

"Let me tell you what," Akers said, "As a kicker, it always feels great when a ball goes between the sticks. I don't care if it's a last-second kick or the first extra point of the game."

-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 9:11 p.m., November 29

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