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Puka Nacua appreciative of NFL rookie receiving records, but preferred it came in a win

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Puka Nacua found out about the NFL rookie records he broke when someone mentioned it to him as he was showering postgame.

The Rams wide receiver wasn't aware of his historic success in real time. And even when he was postgame, it didn't matter much to him, because unlike Week 1, the performance that led to those milestones came in a 30-23 loss to the 49ers on Sunday at SoFi Stadium.

"My success will come when the team wins," Nacua said. "So I'm excited us for to be able to come back and capitalize when we're able to win. It was sweet last week, I got things to improve on, but the most important thing is getting that dub."

Nacua finished with a team-high 15 catches for 147 yards in Sunday's loss to become the first player in NFL history with at least 10 catches and 100 receiving yards in each of his first two career games.

His 15 grabs set an NFL record for receptions in a single game by a rookie and gave him 25 for his first two games, the most for a rookie in their first two games since the 1970 merger. Those 25 receptions through his first two games are the most-ever by a player in his first two career games in NFL history, surpassing Earl Cooper (19 in 1980), and also most by a rookie in their first two games in franchise history.

"I don't know if I could wrap my head all the way around it," Nacua said of how quickly success has come for him. "But one day at a time, one play at a time, just trying to be where my feet are at and make sure that I'm executing in the moments where I'm asked to execute."

The 2023 fifth-round draft pick out of BYU was busy right away, catching three passes on the Rams' first offensive series to help set up a 43-yard field goal by kicker Brett Maher. He had a 20-yard reception on the drive that set up quarterback Matthew Stafford's 6-yard touchdown pass to running back Kyren Williams that tied the game 10-10 midway through the second quarter, and a 13-yard grab that sustained the drive that ended with Williams' 4-yard touchdown run that gave the Rams a 17-10 lead later in that same period.

The Los Angeles Rams take on the San Francisco 49ers for Week 2 at SoFi Stadium. Take a look at photos from the matchup!

All told, Nacua would have at least one catch on each of Los Angeles' five scoring drives Sunday afternoon.

"As far as getting open, he's winning his matchup," Stafford said. "If he gets a man matchup, he's winning. Doing a great job of separating and catching the ball, making plays after he catches it. If we're in zone, I'm just clicking through progressions. He was on the front side of a few of them today, and did a nice job making some catches."

And for as strong of a performance Nacua had, he still saw things he had to work on. He specifically pointed out the way he runs crossing routes as an area of focus.

"There's a couple of times where, I think of last week we had a crossing route where I kind of missed behind where Stafford wanted me to settle," Nacua said. "And this one, kind of had one. So going across and making sure I'm aware of how I've got to adjust my hands for those catches across the ball, and just making sure I catch the ball. If it touches my hands, that's my job. I play wide receiver, so I gotta come down with those."

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