Maybe the "Windy City" reputation took its toll on David Akers.
There's a reason this game is called football, and for as little emphasis as the kicking game gets in the grand scheme of things in breaking down a difficult 24-20 loss like the Eagles had in Chicago on Sunday night, making two more field goals obviously wouldn't have hurt.
That's why the Eagles' veteran kicker concentrated a little bit harder in his pregame studies of the conditions at Soldier Field, knowing the game could very well rest on his left toe.
|Akers said that this 50-yard attempt never caught the wind like he expected|
"I thought I really hit the ball well," Akers said "I hit it where I wanted it to go, but in dropping the trajectory down to drive them through, it became more of me miscalculating how much the ball was going to move than my actual kick."
Head coach Andy Reid confirmed that it wasn't a lack of the leg strength that Akers has displayed for his entire career, but that the accuracy in conjunction with the deep kicks have been the problem.
And the concern is certainly there: Akers, typically one of the most reliable kickers in the NFL – from any distance – for the past decade, has hit just three of his 13 attempts from 40 yards or longer since the start of the 2007 season, his only ten misses in that timeframe.
And on Sunday, Akers had his two deep misses move completely against his aim, he said. The good news, though, is he knew what happened.
His first miss – from 50 yards out – didn't catch the wind at all, and his second – from 47 – actually countered it, he said.
"It's not Soldier Field. Out there, it was a right to left wind. I put one kick just outside the pole, thinking it would come back, because when we were warming up, the ball was really pulling hard to the left," Akers said. "So I just wanted to keep it a little lower and power it. But when I did, it kept a straight line and didn't come back at all. And with the second one, I hit it right where I wanted to, but it tailed back to the right against the wind at about the goal line."
Reid was confident on Monday that he still believes Akers can get the job done for the Eagles. But the scrutiny is coming after a game in which Akers' points really mattered.
"I do (feel he is capable). He needs to make those kicks, but I do feel that way," Reid said. "The wind was blowing towards our bench, and so, where he was aiming was closer to the right goal post, the right side of the goal post. That's where he aimed, and the wind didn't blow it back to where it normally blows it back to for him. Not excuses for him, but that's what happened."