clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Puka Nacua to the moon in Rams Week 1 stock up, stock down

Rams rookie wide receiver Puka Nacua impressed in his debut

Los Angeles Rams v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams defeated the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1, 30-13. In what was considered a surprising win, there were a lot of positive individual and group performances. Puka Nacua had a fantastic debut in his first game, Matthew Stafford had a vintage performance, and the defense shutout Seattle in the second half. Here’s stock up, stock down following Week 1.

Stock up: WR Puka Nacua

It’s fair to say after his Week 1 performance against the Seahawks that the offseason hype surrounding Puka Nacua was real. Nacua finished with 10 receptions for 119 yards which is the most for a Rams rookie in their debut in franchise history. Nacua had a nice second-effort play to set up Kyren Williams’ first touchdown on 2nd-and-goal from the 17. The rookie was also on the receiving end of Stafford’s incredible throw in the fourth quarter along the right sideline.

However, something that went unnoticed was his ability as a blocker. Nacua displayed his feistiness as a player throughout the game, but that was especially the case in the run game. If Nacua can manage to remain healthy, he’ll be in for quite the rookie season. It’s also worth noting TuTu Atwell’s performance here. Both young Rams wide receivers looked good. With that said, $PUKA TO THE MOON!

Stock Down: The media’s offseason Rams takes

For a team that was allegedly tanking, the Rams did a very poor job on Sunday by defeating the Seahawks on the road, 30-13. The Rams defense was a bunch of players nobody had heard of and Aaron Donald. That same defense shutout the Seahawks offense in the second half. Players like Ernest Jones, Byron Young, etc. stepped up and consistently made plays.

For being washed and a player that the Rams were allegedly actively trying to get rid of in the offseason, Matthew Stafford looked pretty alright. The Rams quarterback led the NFL in EPA and EPA + CPOE composite score. Sunday was a display of vintage Sean McVay and Stafford.

Stock Up: Rams Offensive Line

There was a lot of anxiety about how the Rams offensive line would perform. With so much changeover during the offseason that included putting Alaric Jackson at left tackle, Steve Avila at left guard, and Joe Noteboom at right guard, there were some serious questions as to how they would perform. When all was said and done, they allowed five total pressures and one quarterback hit. To say the least, they exceeded expectations.

Stafford had clean pockets all afternoon and rookie Steve Avila really stood out. Alaric Jackson was a rock at left tackle outside of his facemask penalty. Can this group improve in run-blocking? Yes. However, they did just enough to be able to stick with the run game and keep the Seahawks honest.

Stock Down: K Brett Maher

This is nit-picking as there wasn’t a lot that went wrong for the Rams on Sunday. The 57-yard field goal that was blocked, wasn’t necessarily Maher’s fault. Sean McVay should be playing for four-downs in that situation. His other miss was another from outside 50-yards.

Maher hit from 54 later in the game and didn’t miss an extra-point. The kicker situation is still going to be one to watch throughout the season.

Stock Up: Rams Defense

The Rams defense outperformed all expectations. In the first half, it was a little messy on the edge. However, as they settled in, this group was relentless. Ernest Jones led all NFL linebackers in tackles for loss in Week 1. He’s clearly bulked up and was a key part of the Rams stopping the Seahawks run game.

Additionally, it’s hard not to mention Byron Young. The third-round rookie tied for the team lead in pressures with five. The other player was Aaron Donald. Young had a fantastic debut and while there will likely be ups-and-downs, his performance on Sunday was a very good start.

Derion Kendrick’s day was overshadowed by a filthy route from DK Metcalf that resulted in a touchdown. Overall, however, he had a nice afternoon. His ability to put negative plays behind him is a positive. Russ Yeast also had a good first game as a starter at safety.