Even Akers' record-tying kick was a group effort


Even Akers' record-tying kick was a group effort

GREEN BAY, Wisc. -- David Akers' name will go in the NFL record book again.And in the ultimate team victory on Sunday, the 49ers' kicker knows he could not have gotten his opportunity to boot a 63-yard field goal on the final play of the first half without some well-timed contributions from Kyle Williams and backup quarterback Colin Kaeperick."Some of that stuff gets overlooked," Akers said in the aftermath of the 49ers' 30-22 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday at Lambeau Field.Williams' season ended last season with heartbreak after his two turnovers on punt returns were critical plays in the 49ers' loss to the New York Giants in the NFC championship game. But he came through as a punt returner on Sunday with Ted Ginn out with an ankle injury.Williams played a key role in a sequence in which Akers kicked two field goals in the final 55 seconds of the first half to give the 49ers a 16-7 halftime lead. Williams returned a Tim Masthay punt 20 yards to give the 49ers the ball at their own 38 with :18 remaining in the half."First, the defense came up with a big stop after we put the field goal on the board," Williams said. "At first, we were looking at a situation where we might just fair-catch it."But then coach (special teams coordinator Brad) Seely came over and said, 'No, try to run it back. Let's try to get something out of this.' He (Masthay) put it out there and gave me some space. I did what I could with it. I still think I could've broken a tackle and gotten a little more."After the 49ers took over, Kaepernick entered in place of Alex Smith and kept the ball for a 17-yard gain to the Green Bay 45."(We) put that play in for Kaep, a quarterback draw," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "Kyle set it up with the punt return. A lot of good things had to happen, starting with the punt return. Kyle made a good play on that. And then Kaep makes the big run."Akers, who made a kick from 61-yards out in warmups, was sent out to attempt a 63-yard field goal. His trajectory on the kick was lower because of the distance it had to travel. The blocking held up, and long-snapper Brian Jennings and holder Andy Lee were perfect.
"I didn't think I hit it that great," Akers said. "If I'd hit it like I hit the 43-yarder, it would've gotten over without hitting the crossbar. We did knock down the elevation to give it the chance of getting there."Akers, who set the NFL record with 44 field goals last season, earlier made kicks of 40 and 43 yards. His 63-yarder hit the crossbar and tumbled over."The bounce and going through was some of the craziest stuff I've seen in football," Williams said. "I think that was huge for us going into the half, being able to go up 16-7."Akers became the fourth player in NFL history to kick a 63-yard field goal, joining Tom Dempsey (1970), Jason Elam (1998) and Sebastian Janikowski (2011)."I was actually speechless," said Akers, a 14-year veteran. "It was a career day to be able to do something like that."

49ers already spend more in free agency than a year ago


49ers already spend more in free agency than a year ago

Under the 49ers’ new regime, the club has already invested more in the free-agent market than a year ago under then-general manager Trent Baalke.

Just a reminder: The free-agent signing period does not officially open until March 9.

The 49ers on Friday reached a contract agreement with veteran defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, who is penciled into be a starter in the team’s new 4-3 base scheme under defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

It was the first significant move under new general manager John Lynch, who also signed a player with NFL experience earlier in the week.

The 49ers also added cornerback K’Waun Williams to a one-year contract. Williams served as the Cleveland Browns’ nickel back for two seasons. The Browns released him before the start of last season and he was unable to play due to an ankle injury.

Mitchell was available to be signed before the start of the new league year because the Miami Dolphins released him last week in a move to save the team $4 million in cap space.

Mitchell took four free-agent visits and after wrapping up his tour with the Atlanta Falcons on Friday, he and the 49ers quickly agreed on a four-year, $16 million contract that includes $5.5 million of money in the first year, according to a source.

Last year, Baalke did little to improve the roster for coach Chip Kelly. The 49ers, who finished 5-11 in Jim Tomsula's one season, dropped to 2-14. Just hours after the season concluded, the 49ers announced the firings of Baalke and Kelly.

The only veteran free-agent addition who stepped on the field for the 49ers last season was offensive lineman Zane Beadles. The 49ers signed Beadles in late-March to a three-year, $9.75 million contract with a $1.75 million signing bonus. Beadles had a good season for the 49ers, starting 13 games at left guard and the final three games at left tackle.

The 49ers have already shown more willingness to be aggressive under Lynch’s leadership.

Mitchell, 29, is a seven-year veteran who began his NFL career from 2010 to ’13 with the Houston Texans. He was a rookie in Saleh’s final season as assistant linebackers coach in Houston.

Mitchell joins DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead and Quinton Dial on the 49ers defensive line. The 49ers view Mitchell as a high-energy player who bring good character to the locker room. The signing of Mitchell could be an indication the 49ers are moving on from Glenn Dorsey, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent.

With 5.5 sacks in seven seasons, the 49ers do not figure to use Mitchell in passing situations. The club must try to bolster its pass rush in free agency or the draft. Last season, Buckner and Ahmad Brooks shared the team-lead with six sacks apiece. In 2015, Brooks and Aaron Lynch both led the way with 6.5 sacks.

Source: 49ers agree to four-year deal with former Dolphins DT

Source: 49ers agree to four-year deal with former Dolphins DT

The San Francisco 49ers agreed to a four-year, $16 million deal with defensive tackle Earl Mitchell on Friday, CSNBayArea.com has learned

Mitchell, 29, will earn $5.5 million in his first year with the 49ers. 

The seven-year veteran played in nine games last season for the Dolphins. He recorded 17 total tackles. 

Since entering the league in 2010 as a third-round draft pick with the Texans, Mitchell has appeared in 100 games between Houston and Miami, totaling 206 tackles. He has also recorded 5.5 sacks.