In a historic feat, Samoan wide receiver Makea “Puka” Nacua, representing the Los Angeles Rams in the NFL, has etched his name into the record books by breaking multiple rookie records.
Puka Nakua has set new rookie records for most receiving yards in a season (1,486), most receptions in the season (105) and most receptions in a single game (15).
Selected as the Rams’ fifth-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, Nacua showcased his prowess during the team’s final regular-season game against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday (Monday Samoa time)
Nacua broke the long-standing record of 1,473 yards set by Bill Groman back in 1960.
Nacua came into the game needing only 29 yards to break the record, and he registered 28 on the opening drive to tie Groman. On the Rams’ first possession of the second half, he broke the record with a 7-yard catch.
On the very next play, he caught a 6-yard pass to break the record for the most receptions by a rookie in one season, giving him 105 on the year to pass Jaylen Waddle, who had 101.
This achievement not only secures the 22-year-old’s place in NFL history but also highlighted Nacua’s consistent brilliance throughout the season.
During the game against the 49ers, Nacua made four catches, accumulating 41 receiving yards, and scored a crucial touchdown.
The coaching staff wisely opted to pull Nacua from the game early, ensuring he stays in prime condition for the upcoming playoffs.
Nacua’s remarkable rookie season sets the stage for an exciting playoff run. The Rams are scheduled to face the Detroit Lions on Sunday (US Time), or Monday afternoon in Samoa.
Puka Nacua’s breakthrough performance not only brings pride to the Rams but also adds a new chapter to the legacy of Samoan athletes in the NFL.
Nacua is of Samoan, Hawaiian and Portuguese descent. He acquired the nickname “Puka”, meaning chubby in Samoan, due to his size as a baby.
He grew up in Provo, Utah and attended Orem High School. Nacua finished his high school career with 260 catches, 5,226 receiving yards, and 58 receiving touchdowns, all of which are Utah state records.