Los Angeles Rams rookie wide receiver Puka Nacua has been the talk of the NFL through the season's first two weeks, and Sunday afternoon against the San Francisco 49ers etched his name into the league record book.
After pulling down 10 receptions for 119 yards in his NFL debut, against the Seattle Seahawks, Nacua proved he was no fluke by adding nine more receptions through the first three quarters of Sunday's game.
Nacua's tenth reception of the game, coming with 10:18 remaining in regulation, set a new NFL record, surpassing Earl Cooper's record for most receptions through two career games.
Puka Nacua now has the record for most receptions in a player's first two career games (20). pic.twitter.com/wuo018pci6
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) September 17, 2023
In the first half alone against the 49ers, Nacua showed his value in the Rams' passing game, pulling down seven receptions for 66 yards on eight targets.
The 49ers knew what to expect from Nacua, and still couldn't slow him down.
"[Nacua] is as fast as anyone," 49ers head coach Kyle Shannahan told reporters, leading up to Week 2. "He's one of those premier play-action top-level guys, and when you can put those guys in the right spots, and you've got a quarterback like they do, it can be pretty lethal."
What makes Nacua's performance on Sunday afternoon even more impressive is the fact that he showed up on the Rams' injury report, after the fifth-round pick suffered an oblique injury in the opener that kept him out of Thursday's practice, leading up to Week 2.
According to ESPN Stats and Information, Nacua produced the most receiving yards in his first career game by a player who was chosen in the fifth-round or later, since 2000.
Nacua's ascension has helped soften the blow of All-Pro receiver Cooper Kupp missing the first two weeks due to injury, and he has certainly made the most of the additional reps developing a strong chemistry with veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford.
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