The NFL handed out the final player of the month awards and the 49ers took home a pair of awards. Rookie outside linebacker/defensive end Aldon Smith was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month for December/January. Veteran kicker David Akers was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Month for December/January.
Smith capped off a spectacular rookie season with 6.5 sacks over the final five weeks of the year. He finished the season with 14.0 sacks, leaving him a half sack short of Jevon Kearse's rookie sack record. This is Smith's second rookie of the month award and puts him firmly in the running with Denver Broncos OLB Von Miller for defensive rookie of the year. Washington Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan is also in the race, but most view it as a two-horse race between Smith and Miller.
Akers capped off arguably his best season as a pro with a dominant final five weeks of the season. He was named NFC special teams player of the week for Weeks 16 and 17, so it only makes sense that he would take home the monthly award as well. Akers led the NFL in points over the final five weeks with 58 points on 16 field goals and ten extra points. He also had his first career touchdown pass on a fake field goal attempt in Week 17 against the St. Louis Rams. Akers was named to his sixth career Pro Bowl.