No Cooper Kupp, no problem as Puka Nacua emerges for the Rams offense

Rams wide receiver Puka Nacua was targeted 15 times catching 10 of those passes for 119 yards.

LOS ANGELES — The Rams may have the next Cooper Kupp on their hands after the huge performance from rookie wideout, Puka Nacua.

Once the word was out that Cooper Kupp was going on the IR forcing him to miss the first four weeks of the season. No one in their right mind picked the Rams to win their opener on the road over divisional rival, the Seattle Seahawks.

The team did exactly that pulling off the upset going out and scoring 30 points without their superstar wideout and the rookie out of BYU was a big part of it.

Nacua was targeted 15 times catching 10 of those passes for 119 yards. The last of the Rams 2023 fifth-round picks (177) set a franchise record for receiving yards in a first career game.

“Puka Nacua has come in and he’s as mature a rookie as I’ve ever been around,” said Rams coach Sean McVay. “He is a physical, tough, strong player. He’s got a great way about himself.” 

Nauca will be looked upon to continue to play well with Kupp being out three more games or possibly longer.

“It’s always nice to have him on the field, but then when he’s not, the level of communication he has takes another step to being able to make sure we understand,” Nacua said. “And when we’re coming back and we’re checking the iPads and stuff like that, he’s the first one there saying, ‘Hey,’ either ‘good job’ or ‘this is what I’m seeing and this is what I’m looking at.’ Coop’s the man. I love that guy. I feel like I’m blessed to be in this situation.”

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford with the help of Nacua’s performance, completed 24 of 38 passes for 334 yards, his eighth 300-yard passing game in a season opener. Stafford praised the play of the rookie but the rookie gave praise to his fellow wideouts (Tutu Atwell and Van Jefferson) for their help on Sunday.

“They’ve helped accelerate my learning” Nacua said.

Atwell joined Nauca with having a breakout performance himself catching six passes for 119 yards.

If this is the consistent play of the wide receiver group going forward the Rams may be able to  surprise a lot of naysayers (including myself) and maybe pick up some early wins before the return of Kupp.

Up next for the Rams and their young stud at WR is a matchup against another division foe this time around against the 1-0 San Francisco 49ers.