Originally written on Football Extra Points  |  Last updated 11/17/14

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 8: Kicker Phil Dawson #4 of the Cleveland Browns punts the ball against the Carolina Panthers during their NFL game on October 8, 2006, at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. Carolina won 20-12. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
In the 2011 season with Alex Smith at the helm and the 49er defense dominating, a conservative offensive approach, run first and rely heavily on the defense to keep the 49ers competitive.  David Akers was brought over from Philadelphia after a long stay with the Eagles became a valuable asset for the 49er offense, often times bailing out a struggling red zone attack and carrying the 49ers with every kick. What changed in the 49er offense in 2012 had a lot to do with the decline in efficiency by Akers, as kicks he was known to make began to sail, and the clutch kicker from the previous season began to look over the hill.  With more weight on the shoulders of Alex Smith and the defense, the 49ers continued to struggle in the red zone, and with Akers struggling he could no longer be relied on to bail Smith out. The incredible foresight of Harbaugh and his coaching staff led the 49ers to eventually call an audible, shake things up, and let the offense excel a...
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