The Los Angeles Rams drafted former BYU receiver Puka Nacua in the fifth round of last spring’s draft. The fit seemed ideal, with Rams head coach Sean McVay being one of the best offensive minds in all of football. Plus, the return of quarterback Matthew Stafford from an injury-riddled season the year before and star receiver Cooper Kupp beginning the season on injured reserve led to optimal conditions for Nacua’s rookie season.
Even with all that, no one could have predicted the start Nacua has had to his rookie campaign.
Stafford fed him a feast of targets, 15 in all. He caught 10 of them for 119 yards and being one yard shy of a touchdown on one long reception. Many wondered if this was a one-off from an unknown player that the opposing defense didn’t account for.
Against arguably one of the best defenses in the NFL the next week, in the 49ers, Nacua looked even better. He received a whopping 20 targets, which is a number even Cooper Kupp has reached just once. He hauled in 15 catches for 147 yards, exceeding his NFL debut
His production took a slight dip in Week 3 against the Bengals. Even so, he garnered seven targets, five catches for 72 yards. A lot of receivers would covet such a day in the NFL.
His heroics reached new heights in L.A.’s overtime victory over the Colts. It was an overtime victory because of Nacua. After the Rams had squandered a 23-0 lead on the road, the Colts forced overtime.
On the opening drive of overtime, Stafford and Nacua first connected for a 20 yard gain on the first play. The Rams drove all the way to the Colts’ 22 yard line before Stafford and Nacua’s magic connection happened once more, this time for a walk-off game-winning touchdown. It marked Nacua’s first NFL score.
First one couldn’t have been sweeter pic.twitter.com/Gg8CeiaDZH— Puka Nacua (@AsapPuka) October 1, 2023
Following his fourth straight stellar game to open the season, Nacua has set a host of records.
He now holds the NFL record for most catches in a player’s first four games.
Puka Nacua in 4 games— Rams Tapes (@RamsTapes) October 1, 2023
sets the record for most receptions through a player’s first 4 games (31) and shatters it with 39
501 receiving yards
On pace for 2,129
12.8 average per catch pic.twitter.com/5o6wLRPMU8
Nacua is currently on pace for over 2,000 receiving yards on 165 catches, which would be an NFL record.
He currently leads the NFL in receptions with 39 and is second to Justin Jefferson with 501 receiving yards.
He is clearly the frontrunner right now for AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Head coach Sean McVay told the Rich Eisen Show, “he’s a special guy. He’s a rookie that’s mature beyond his years. He has a great rapport with Matthew Stafford.”
The entire football world is taking notice of the former BYU Cougar.
No player in NFL history has caught more passes in his first four career games than Puka Nacua. pic.twitter.com/rziPnN3q76— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) October 1, 2023
Is Puka Nacua the greatest Mormon athlete since Jimmer?!? pic.twitter.com/V8Dusq1X7H— Devine Sports Gospel (@DevineGospel) October 1, 2023
Puka Nacua makin' his mark right now pic.twitter.com/FA47SDbvdY— NFL on FOX Podcast (@NFLonFOXPod) October 3, 2023