Akers after missed kick: 'I just feel horrible'


Akers after missed kick: 'I just feel horrible'

ST. LOUIS -- Kicker David Akers missed a 51-yard field goal in overtime that would have provided the winning points Sunday for the 49ers.Instead, the St. Louis Rams scored the winning points on rookie Greg Zuerlein's 54-yard kick with :26 remaining in overtime for a 16-13 victory at the Edwards Jones Dome.
On Nov. 11 at Candlestick Park, Akers missed a 41-yard field goal in overtime, and Zuerlein later missed from 58 yards, in a 24-24 tie.MAIOCCO's INSTANT REPLAY: Rams 16, 49ers 13
"It's a game of inches and I probably missed it by 3 or 4 inches to the right," Akers said Sunday. "And I just feel horrible for letting my teammates, organization, fans down."Akers, a 14-year pro who set the NFL record with 44 field goals last season, has fallen on rough times this year. After making 7 of 9 attempts from beyond 50 yards last season, Akers has converted on just 1 of 5 tries from that distance this year.Akers was listed this week on the 49ers' injury report with an unspecified pelvis condition. The 49ers brought in veteran free agents Nate Kaeding and Billy Cundiff for tryouts. Both kickers have missed important kicks in the playoffs in their careers.MAIOCCO: Miscues lead to overtime loss to Rams
Akers downplayed the injury. He had plenty of distance on his field-goal attempt, and he repeatedly drilled his kickoffs deep into the end zone.
"I don't put anything on injuries," Akers said. "I should've made it."And Akers said he felt as if he would make it."I hit it great. You're going from 51, if it's off a little bit or turns a little bit, it doesn't take much to be off. Got a good shot into it and good power into it . . . just frustrating."Akers has made 21 of 30 field-goal attempts this season. He hit from 33-yard out with 1:34 remaining in regulation to give the 49ers a short-lived 13-10 lead. But Zuerlein made a 53-yarder on the final play of regulation to force overtime.

LeBron James: Colin Kaepernick ‘had a vision like Martin Luther King’


LeBron James: Colin Kaepernick ‘had a vision like Martin Luther King’

LeBron James is an avid football fan. He's now an even bigger Colin Kaepernick fan than the sport. Following the Cavaliers' practice on Sunday, James opened up on Kaepernick and his absence from the NFL. 

"I've commended Kap, and for him to sacrifice everything for the greater good for everyone, for what he truly believed in, the utmost respect to him," James said to ESPN. "Obviously he had a vision like Martin Luther King and like some of our all-time greats that people couldn't see further than what they were doing at the point and time. And Muhammad Ali and things of that nature."

James believes the masses don't truly understand what Kaepernick was doing when he first took a knee as a protest against social and racial injustices in America. For his actions, James respects Kaepernick choosing his beliefs over his sport.

"When it's something that's new and it's something that people are not educated about or don't understand what your beliefs are all about, people are so quick to judge and people are so quick to say that what you're doing is wrong," James said. "For him to sacrifice the sport that he plays and to sacrifice the things he's done his whole life because he knew what he believed in, I salute him. I salute and respect that."

Add James to the list of those who believe Kaepernick is being blackballed by the NFL for taking a knee last season. The more games he watches, the more James sees the evidence on the wall. 

"I don't represent the NFL. I don't know their rules and regulations. But I do know Kap is getting a wrong doing, I do know that," James believes. "Just watching, he's an NFL player. He's an NFL player and you see all these other quarterbacks out there and players out there that get all these second and third chances that are nowhere near as talented as him. It just feels like he's been blackballed out of the NFL. So, I definitely do not respect that."

Kaepernick, who recently turned 30 years old, appeared in 12 games for the 49ers in the 2016-17 season. Through the air he completed 59.2 percent of his passes and ended the year with 2,241 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. Kaepernick also added 468 yards and two more scores on the ground. 

"The only reason I could say he's not on a team is because the way he took a knee," James said. "That's the only reason. I watch football every Sunday, every Thursday, every Monday night. I see all these quarterbacks -- first-string, second-team, third-team quarterbacks -- that play sometimes when the starter gets hurt or are starters that play. Kap is better than a lot of those guys. Let's just be honest."

For his career, Kaepernick has thrown for 12,271 yards and 72 touchdowns to 30 interceptions. With his speed as a dual-threat quarterback, Kaepernick has also gained 2,300 yards rushing and 13 more touchdowns. 

Former 49ers quarterback takes over under center for Cardinals


Former 49ers quarterback takes over under center for Cardinals

TEMPE, Ariz. — Blaine Gabbert will get his first start for the Arizona Cardinals when they play the Texans in Houston on Sunday.

Coach Bruce Arians announced the decision after Friday's practice.

Drew Stanton, the starter the last two games, bruised his knee early in the Thursday night loss to Seattle last week. He stayed in the game but has been limited in practice all week.

Arians said it will be a game-time decision as to whether Stanton or recently signed Matt Barkley would be Gabbert's backup.

Gabbert will be making his 41st NFL start. He has a 9-31 record. He signed with Arizona last offseason and was the third quarterback until Carson Palmer broke his arm against the Los Angeles Rams in London and was lost for the season.