David Akers has earned the right to kick for the 49ers in the playoffs, Jim Harbaugh said Thursday.
Akers, who struggled in the regular season, won a six-day completion against new addition Billy Cundiff, who the 49ers signed last week.
When asked how Akers handled the competition, Harbaugh said, "Good. (He) responded like a football player does."
"He gives us the best chance," explained Harbaugh.
Akers will handle the kickoff and ace-kicking chores Saturday night against the Green Bay Packers in an NFC divisional-round playoff. Both players will remain on the 49ers' 53-man roster, but only Akers is expected to suit up for the game. Akers made just 29 of 42 field-goal attempts this season after setting an NFL record in 2011 with 44 field goals in 52 attempts. Akers was booed at Candlestick Park two weeks ago when he missed two kicks in the regular-season finale.
"I know it's been tough. It's not easy," 49ers backup quarterback Alex Smith said. "It seems you only get noticed when you go out there and fail. But everybody I think has respect for what Dave is about and stands for. He's gone through a rough patch, so you're happy to see him win the competition. And hopefully he gets back on track."