Los Angeles Rams receiver Puka Nacua set an NFL rookie record with 15 receptions in Sunday’s 30-23 loss to the San Francisco 49ers and set another mark with 25 catches over his first two NFL games.
Nacua also is the first rookie to rack up 10-plus catches and gain 100 or more receiving yards in each of his first two NFL games. He had 147 yards against San Francisco and had 10 receptions for 119 yards against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1.
The previous rookie record for catches over two games was set by Earl Cooper (19) of the 49ers in 1980.
“He’s tough. He’s a physical competitor,” Rams coach Sean McVay said of Nacua after Sunday’s game. “He continued to battle all the way through to the end.
“He’s the epitome of what we want to be as Rams. I love Puka Nacua and I was really pleased with him today.”
Nacua was a fifth-round pick (No. 177 overall) in the 2023 draft out of BYU. Interestingly, he was the Rams’ fourth selection of the fifth round. Nacua had 48 receptions for 625 yards and five touchdowns in nine games last season.
Nacua caught 91 passes in two seasons with BYU after beginning his college career at Washington. He had 16 catches in two seasons for the Huskies.
Nacua was targeted 20 times during the contest against San Francisco. He has become a focal point of the offense with star Cooper Kupp sidelined with a hamstring injury. Kupp is on injured reserve and will miss at least two more games.
Kupp won the receiving triple crown in 2021, leading the NFL with 145 catches, 1,947 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns, and was named NFL Offensive Player of the Year. He was limited to nine games in 2022 with a high ankle sprain.
Nacua is doing a nice impersonation with 25 receptions for 266 yards. He has the most receptions by a rookie in Rams franchise history through his first two games. Tavon Austin held the previous mark, hauling in 12 catches.