INGLEWOOD, Calif. — As Puka Nacua finished up his record-breaking day, the Los Angeles Rams rookie wide receiver needed some help.
“Which way to the front of the stadium?” he asked a nearby team employee.
The question made sense, as this was Nacua’s first regular-season home game. But nothing about his performance has shown any indication that he’s new to this stadium or even new to the NFL.
Nacua caught 15 passes for 147 yards in the Rams’ 30-23 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, breaking the NFL’s single-game record for receptions by a rookie and setting an overall league mark with 25 catches in the first two games of his career.
One week after he recorded 10 catches for 119 yards in his NFL debut, Nacua — with his 10th catch on Sunday — eclipsed Earl Cooper’s record, set in 1980, for most receptions by a player through his first two games. On the next play, Nacua broke the 100-yard receiving mark to become the first player to record 10 receptions and 100 receiving yards in each of his first two NFL games.
“He’s a stud,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “The game makes sense to him. Physically and mentally tough. Works really hard. He’s very inquisitive. He asks a lot of questions, and he’s got great guys to be able to lean on.
“His rapport with [quarterback] Matthew [Stafford], where they’re able to bounce things off of one another, I think that’s been a real positive, and Puka’s going to continue to improve.”
Najee Harris (2021), Saquon Barkley (2018), Roy Helu (2011) and Don Looney (1940) each had a 14-catch game as a rookie.
According to Elias Sports Bureau research, Nacua is now one of four players in NFL history to record 100 or more receiving yards in each of his first two NFL games, joining Looney (1940), DeSean Jackson (2008) and Will Fuller V (2016).
Nacua’s 25 receptions are also the most by a rookie over any two-game span; Odell Beckham Jr. had 23 catches over two contests in December 2014.
Nacua said that other than what a teammate mentioned to him while showering, he didn’t realize he had set any records with his big day.
“I’m not really aware of kind of what’s going on,” Nacua said. “But my success will come when the team wins, so I’m excited for us to be able to come back and capitalize when we are able to win. So it was sweet last week. I got things to improve on, so it’s cool and all, but the most important thing is getting that W.”
Nacua was on the injury report this week with an oblique injury he sustained in the Rams’ season-opening victory over the Seattle Seahawks, but when asked if he felt he had to play through the injury in Week 2, he said he did not.
“[I] felt like I was able to recover through the week, and on Sunday, just let it all fly,” Nacua said.
The Rams are without wide receiver Cooper Kupp, who is on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. Kupp will miss at least two more games and is eligible to return in Week 5 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press contributed to this report.