Puka Nacua Makes History: Breaks 63-Year-Old Rookie Receiving Yards Record

Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Puka Nacua has set the rookie receiving yards record at 1486 and rookie reception record at 105 passing Jaylen Waddle by one catch

(11:59 – 3rd) (Shotgun) C.Wentz pass short left to P.Nacua to SF 43 for 6 yards (I.Oliver).

(12:43 – 3rd) (Shotgun) C.Wentz pass short right to P.Nacua to SF 49 for 7 yards (S.Womack, R.Beal).

(2:03 – 2nd) (Shotgun) C.Wentz pass incomplete short left to P.Nacua.

Nacua ties Bill Groman with a TD (1:53 – 1st) (Shotgun) C.Wentz pass deep right to P.Nacua for 19 yards, TOUCHDOWN. Penalty on SF-C.Ward, Defensive Pass Interference, declined.

2nd target incomplete (2:46 – 1st) C.Wentz pass incomplete short right to P.Nacua.

Nacua catches his first target for 9 yards. (6:25 – 1st) (Shotgun) C.Wentz pass short middle to P.Nacua to LA 48 for 9 yards (C.Ward)

After splashing onto the scene with a 10-catch 119-yard game in Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Rams rookie wide receiver Puka Nacua stands on the precipice of making history, 63-year-old history. Nacua heads into Week 18 with just 29 yards remaining to pass Bill Groman‘s record of 1473 yards.

Puka Nacua came into the league under the radar. The Rams picked him with the franchise’s eighth pick and 177th overall pick in the draft. In college, he played two seasons with the Washington Huskies and two with the BYU Cougars, but much of his playing time was with BYU. Nacua missed 4 games due to injury but put up 834 yards from scrimmage (625 receiving, 209 rushing). In 2021, he compiled 953 yards from scrimmage (805, 145)

Puka Nacua’s Path to 1473

For the Rams, Puka Nacua became an integral part of the offense while Cooper Kupp recovered from an injury early in the season. In the four games that Kupp missed, Nacua caught 416 yards, which represents 29 percent of his total so far.

After Kupp returned Nacua’s usage and production stayed high putting him in place to surpass Groman and put him in the conversation for Rookie of the Year and as one of the league’s best active receivers, among Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase. Nacua has passed Jefferson’s rookie mark and is 10 yards behind Chase’s.

For fans of Bill Groman, one feather in your cap is that he managed his record in just 14 games. Which given the state of the game in 1960 is all the more incredible.

Puka Nacua
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports