The L.A. Rams had high hopes for rookie Puka Nacua going into the season because he had such a strong performance in OTAs and training camp, but nobody could have seen this coming this early: Puka set two NFL records in one day.
With 15 catches against the 49ers, Puka set the single-game rookie record. His 25 catches so far is the most ever for a rookie through his first two NFL games. And to think, the Rams thought that they needed Cooper Kupp to have a true number one receiver.
.@RamsNFL WR Puka Nacua (@AsapPuka) recorded 15 catches today, the most receptions by a rookie in a single game in @NFL history.— NFL345 (@NFL345) September 17, 2023
Nacua now has 25 receptions on the season, the most-ever by a player in his first two career games, surpassing Earl Cooper (19 in 1980).
Not just a record for a fifth round pick, but for any rookie receiver. Puka is playing so far above his draft position that not only does it look like he should have been a first rounder, he’s making a case as the best rookie receiver in the entire NFL.
Nacua caught 15 passes for 147 yards against the San Francisco 49ers, a week after he had 10 catches for 119 yards against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1. That’s 25 catches for 266 yards before the end of his second career game. Nacua didn’t even reach 200 yards during his freshman or sophomore seasons in college and it may not take him long to have more single season yards in the NFL than he had with BYU last year at 625 in nine games.
The previous record was 19 catches, held by the 49ers Earl Cooper in 1980. That 43-year old record has now been broken against the 49ers.
The record for receiving yards through two games is held by Anquan Boldin, who had 279 in 2003. Nacua was only 13 yards shy of tying him.