Head coach Andy Reid showed faith in his defense when he opted to punt the ball on a fourth-and-1 at the Denver 49-yard line with 3:07 remaining in Sunday's 30-27 win over the Broncos.
Punter Sav Rocca made the defense's job a little bit easier when his punt was fair caught by Broncos return man Alphonso Smith at the 9-yard line.
"We had to make sure we put them back deep and really put the pressure back on them," said Rocca in regards to what he described as his most important punt of the year. "I think we got it on the 8-yard line (It was the 9-yard line). We would have liked it on the 4. I was happy with the end result. It was great we all pulled together and finished off the night in a punting sense."
The Eagles defense forced a three-and-out and the offense obtained possession of the ball at the Denver 42-yard line. Once Jeremy Maclin's amazing sideline grab at the 13-yard line was ruled a completed pass after the booth review, Akers knew he that his game-winning field goal attempt would be much shorter. The Eagles ran the clock down and Akers trotted out for a 28-yard field goal attempt.
Akers nailed his third field goal of the game with just four ticks left on the clock. It was his second game-winner this season and the ninth of his career with less than two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter or overtime.
"The reality is that it was a winning kick. No matter if it's me kicking an extra point or we win by 50 points, a win the National Football League is so big. That was huge for us," Akers said. "If we can keep the momentum going, there's a lot to be said by teams that have momentum going into the playoffs. That's what we want to do and we want to finish it up strong next week."
Akers' other game-winner this season was also during the Eagles' current six-game win streak. Akers' 32-yard field goal with 1:48 remaining lifted the Eagles to the win over the Redskins. Rocca described Sunday's game-winner as the "cherry on top" of Akers' amazing season. Akers leads the league with 139 points and he is just six points from setting a new franchise single-season record.
"He's had a great season. He's kicking the ball really well," Rocca said. "I think if we can keep going on this path, the special teams unit can certainly contribute to going a long way in the playoffs."
And, of course, Akers said that he wouldn't be able to have the success he's had this season without Rocca and longsnapper Jon Dorenbos.
"Sav's done a great job. He's developing himself into a directional punter," Akers said. "The fans get (on him) a little bit because they see the ball go out of bounds shorter than his 57-yarders down the field when he's really trying to put it on the sideline. At times, the way the geometry is if you step a little bit over here or there the ball doesn't go as far. There's no return and things like that, so as a punter and a holder - as a true specialist - Sav's doing a phenomenal job."
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 11:23 p.m., December 27