INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Wide receiver Puka Nacua's rookie season now is among the best in Rams history.
With his 12-yard catch in the first quarter of Sunday's game against the Browns, Nacua broke wide receiver Eddie Kennison's franchise rookie record for single-season receiving yards.
"Nothing surprises me with him anymore," Rams head coach Sean McVay said postgame, alluding to the toughness shown by Nacua to gut it out through a rib injury in the second half. "Congratulations to him as well, setting a rookie franchise record for receiving (yards). He's done a great job, and the best thing about him is he's going to just continue to get better, continue to be coachable and accountable and only going to take steps in this type of direction. And we love him."
Nacua reached 936 yards to pass Kennison's 924, and reached the milestone in three fewer games (12) than Kennison did in 1996.
His 70-yard touchdown catch late in the first quarter of Sunday's game also brought him past 1,000 – 1,006, to be exact – and made him the first rookie in franchise history to reach the milestone.
Nacua is the sixth player since the 1970 merger to reach the mark within his first 12 games, and first since the Vikings' Justin Jefferson in 2020.
Nacua had 4 catches for 105 yards and one touchdown overall to bring him to 77 receptions for 1,029 receiving yards and three touchdowns on the season.
For good measure, he also took a jet sweep 31 yards after re-entering the game after getting his ribs evaluated.
"We came and just got some scans and stuff, did some mobility and strength testing," Nacua said postgame. "Just trying to gage where I was at and make sure I was ready to go."
How does it feel now?
"Like we just played a football game," Nacua said with a laugh. "But a football game that we won, so I feel good now."
"I play the 'Z' position, so moving a lot out there with the tight end and just the information that they're willing to share and the communication cues that they're always giving, whether it's on a pass play (or) on a run play, just the communication that they're able to give and help me understand the game and make the game very simple," Nacua said. "Number nine makes my job super easy with his ball placement and his understanding of where the defense is going to be and how we can attack the defense, so I'm always extremely grateful for those guys."
Stafford said it was "great" seeing Nacua perform the way he did in spite of the pain he may have been in.
"He's a tough kid," Stafford said. "Obviously had a great run that got called back on a tough one there. But really impacted the game in a bunch of ways. I thought all our guys on the outside really competed well, which was great."