Perhaps the best thing about the poor officiating yesterday was that our special teams made it through a whole game without getting flagged. Amazing! That alone made it the best special teams performance of the year.
However, after the game, David Akers took a lot of flak. He missed two FGs out of five that he attempted, and those six points obviously would have made a difference. Now, I am sure if he had been kind enough to stick around after the game to talk to reporters, he would have said that he wants to and feels that he should make 'em all. He would agree with the criticism.
But the reality is that nobody makes them all. Akers didn't miss 19 yard attempts, he missed from 43 and 47 yards, and hit from 43, 45 and 45. That's five attempts from 40-49 yards. Leaguewide, kickers have made 70% of their kicks from that distance this year, so the average kicker would be expected to make either 3 of 5 (60%) or 4 of 5 (80%) of his kicks from that distance. And that's what Akers did. He has now made 5-of-7 for the season from 40-49 yards, or 71%, and that puts him at 68-of-100 for his career from that distance. On Sunday, he did what he should have been expected to do given what was asked of him.
Bottom line for me: Akers is an average kicker and in my opinion, he has been for a while now. His days of being elite probably ended about the time of his injury in 2005. There are clearly better players out there, but we could also do a lot worse, and finding a new kicker who would be better is far easier said than done (check out Tampa Bay). Average doesn't mean replacement caliber. It means middle of the NFL.
Now, on to the rest of the special teams. I didn't have any post for last week, so this covers both week 5 and week 6. First, the teams' best two weeks in terms of grading were the last two:
The best player over the past two weeks? Saverio Rocca. That's right, the big Aussie cleaned up in the report card department in week 6. Among coverage guys, Eldra Buckley was the big star. Moise Fokou shows why he is active and Joe Mays is not, and Sean Jones worked hard to show why he should not be deactivated again like he was in week 1.
Note that this table puts players with 4 or fewer points combined over weeks 5 and 6 into "All Others". This includes Leonard Weaver and Juqua Parker, who were major contributors in the first three weeks.