Ex-BYU star Puka Nacua sets rookie receiving records in 2nd NFL game

Former BYU receiver Puka Nacua set an NFL record for the most catches (20) in a player's first two career games Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023. Photo: Los Angeles Rams

NOTE: This story has been updated to include games played Monday night.

PROVO, Utah, Sept. 17, 2023 (Gephardt Daily) — Puka Nacua proved his historic NFL debut wasn’t a fluke by setting a pair of rookie receiving records in Week 2.

The former BYU and Orem High School star finished with a rookie-record 15 catches for 147 yards in the Los Angeles Rams’ 30-23 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday in Inglewood, California.

It was an impressive encore to Nacua’s 10-catch, 119-yard NFL debut and set a rookie record for the most receptions (25) in a player’s first two career games. He’s also the first player in NFL history with 10+ receptions and 100+ receiving yards in their first two games.

Nacua’s historic start has him atop the NFL leaderboard for most receptions this season, leading Minnesota Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson (20) by five catches.

Rams coach Sean McVay had high praise for his rookie receiver following the loss.

“He’s tough. He’s a physical competitor, and I thought that showed up,” McVay said. “He continued to battle all the way through the end. He’s the epitome of what we want to be as Rams. I love Puka Nakua, and I was really pleased with him today.”

The Rams selected Nacua with the final pick of the fifth round (177th overall) of the 2023 NFL Draft. Last week, he joined Allen Hurns as the only players in NFL history drafted in the fifth round or later to have 100 receiving yards in their first game.

Here’s how all Utahns in the NFL fared this week. Players with Utah ties are listed below by school, along with their position, team and performance in Week 2:


Cody Barton, LB, Washington Commanders

The former Utah and Brighton High School star led the Commanders with 10 tackles (four solo), two QB hits and recovered a fumble in Washington’s 35-33 victory in Denver.

Julian Blackmon, S, Indianapolis Colts

Blackmon, who played at Utah and Layton High School, made 10 tackles (seven solo) in the Colts’ 31-20 victory over the Texans.

Garett Bolles, OL, Denver Broncos

Bolles, who played at Utah and Westlake High School, started at left tackle in the Broncos’ 35-33 loss to the Commanders.

Britain Covey, WR/RS, Philadelphia Eagles

Covey was elevated from the practice squad to the active roster and returned one punt (2 yards) in the Eagles’ 34-28 victory over the Vikings on Thursday night. He fumbled the return but it was recovered by Philadelphia.

Mohamoud Diabate, LB, Cleveland Browns

The undrafted rookie was active for the Browns’ 26-22 loss to the Steelers on Monday night.

Leki Fotu, DT, Arizona Cardinals

The former Utah and Herriman High School star was inactive in Week 2.

Matt Gay, K, Indianapolis Colts

The Utah and Orem High School alumnus made his lone field goal attempt (42 yards) and went 4 for 4 on PATs in the Colts’ road victory.

Tyler Huntley, QB, Baltimore Ravens

Huntley was inactive in Week 2.

Jaylon Johnson, CB, Chicago Bears

Johnson made four tackles (three solo) in the Bears’ 27-17 loss to the Buccaneers.

Dalton Kincaid, TE, Buffalo Bills

The rookie tight end finished with five catches for 43 yards in the Bills’ 38-10 home victory over the Raiders.

Devin Lloyd, LB, Jacksonville Jaguars

Lloyd led the Jaguars with 11 tackles (five solo) and added two passes defended in a 17-9 home loss to the Chiefs.

Zack Moss, RB, Indianapolis Colts

Moss finished with 107 yards of total offense (88 rushing and 19 receiving) and scored on an 11-yard touchdown run in his season debut for the Colts. He sat out Week 1 with an arm injury.

Clark Phillips III, CB, Atlanta Falcons

Phillips was active vs. the Packers.

Nephi Sewell, LB, New Orleans Saints

The former Utah and Desert Hills High School star was active for the Saints’ 20-17 victory over the Panthers on Monday night.

Marcus Williams, S, Baltimore Ravens

Williams was inactive in Week 2.

Mitch Wishnowsky, P, San Francisco 49ers

Wishnowsky punted four times for 197 total yards (49.3 yards per punt), including two inside the 20-yard line and one touchback, in the 49ers’ 30-23 victory over the Rams.

Injured reserve
Practice squads


Tyler Allgeier, RB, Atlanta Falcons

Allgeier rushed for 48 yards on 16 carries in the Falcons’ 25-24 victory over the Packers.

Zayne Anderson, CB, Green Bay Packers

The former BYU and Stansbury High School star was inactive in Week 2.

Chris Brooks, RB, Miami Dolphins

The undrafted rookie was active for the Dolphins’ 24-17 victory over the Patriots.

Brady Christensen, OL, Carolina Panthers

The BYU and Bountiful High School alumnus was placed on injured reserve Sept. 13 with a biceps injury.

Michael Davis, CB, L.A. Chargers

Davis finished with three solo tackles, including one tackle for a loss, in the Chargers’ 27-24 overtime loss to the Titans.

Blake Freeland, OT, Indianapolis Colts

The former BYU and Herriman star played vs. the Texans.

Jaren Hall, QB, Minnesota Vikings

Hall, a BYU and Maple Mountain High School alumnus, was inactive in Week 2.

Taysom Hill, TE/QB, New Orleans Saints

Hill was the Saints’ leading rusher Monday night, carrying the ball nine times for 75 yards (8.3 yards per carry), including a 19-yard run. He also completed his lone passing attempt (8 yards) and caught one pass for -1 yard.

Puka Nacua, WR, L.A. Rams

Read about the rookie receiver’s record-setting performance in the story above.

Sione Takitaki, LB, Cleveland Browns

Takitaki made two solo tackles and got his first sack of the season Monday night in Pittsburgh.

Khyiris Tonga, DT, Minnesota Vikings

The former BYU and Granger High School star was active for the Vikings 34-28 loss to the Eagles on Thursday night.

Fred Warner, LB, San Francisco 49ers

Warner finished with 11 tackles (nine solo), including a sack of Rams QB Matthew Stafford, in the 49ers’ 30-23 road win over the Rams.

Jamaal Williams, RB, New Orleans Saints

Williams carried the ball nine times for 29 yards (3.2 yards per carry) vs. Carolina on Monday night.

Zach Wilson, QB, N.Y. Jets

The former BYU and Corner Canyon High School QB was intercepted three times in the Jets’ 30-10 loss to the Cowboys. Wilson finished 12 of 27 passing for 151 yards, including a 68-yard touchdown pass to Garrett Wilson. He was also sacked three times for a loss of 19 yards.

Injured reserve

Dax Milne, WR, Washington Commanders

Practice squads

Utah State

Jalen Davis, CB, Cincinnati Bengals

Davis was active for the Bengals’ 27-24 loss to the Ravens.

Tyler Larsen, C, Washington Commanders

The former USU and Jordan High School alumnus played vs. the Broncos in Week 2.

Dallin Leavitt, S, Green Bay Packers

Leavitt was active vs. the Falcons.

Jordan Love, QB, Green Bay Packers

Love tossed three touchdown passes for the second consecutive week in the Packers’ 25-24 loss to the Falcons. The former Aggies QB completed 14 of 25 passes for 151 yards and carried the ball twice for 23 yards in the road loss.

Patrick Scales, LS, Chicago Bears

The former USU and Weber High School star snapped the ball on one field goal, two PATs and five punts in the Bears’ road loss.

Deven Thompkins, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Thompkins returned two punts a total of 7 yards (3.5 per return) in the Buccaneers’ 27-17 victory over the Bears. He fumbled one of the returns but it was recovered by Tampa Bay.

Bobby Wagner, LB, Seattle Seahawks

Wagner made 10 tackles (seven solo) in the Seahawks’ 37-31 victory over the Lions.

Jaylen Warren, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

The former USU, Snow College and East High School star had four catches for 66 yards — including a 30-yard reception — and rushed for 20 yards on six carries in the Steelers’ 26-22 victory over the Browns on Monday night.

Practice squads

Weber State

Taron Johnson, CB, Buffalo Bills

Johnson made four tackles (two solo) in Buffalo’s home victory.

Sua Opeta, OG, Philadelphia Eagles

Opeta played in the Eagles’ 34-28 victory over the Vikings on Thursday night.  

Rashid Shaheed, WR/RS, New Orleans Saints

The receiver/return specialist caught four passes for 63 yards, including a 45-yard reception, in the Saints road win Monday night. Shaheed also had two kickoff returns for a total of 47 yards (23.5 yards per return) and one punt return for 16 yards.

Jonah Williams, DT, L.A. Rams

Williams made five tackles (two solo) in the Rams’ 30-23 loss to the 49ers. 

Southern Utah

Braxton Jones, OL, Chicago Bears

The former SUU and Murray High School star started at left tackle vs. the Buccaneers.

Miles Killebrew, S, Pittsburgh Steelers

Killebrew was active vs. the Browns on Monday night.

Utah high schools

Christian Elliss, LB, Philadelphia Eagles

The Judge Memorial alumnus was active in Week 2.

Kaden Elliss, LB, Atlanta Falcons

Elliss, who played at Judge Memorial, led the Falcons with six solo tackles and registered his first sack of the season vs. the Packers.

Simi Fehoko, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

The former Brighton star was active in Week 2.

Alohi Gilman, S, L.A. Chargers

The former Orem star finished with six tackles (three solo) in the Chargers’ road loss.

Siaki Ika, DT, Cleveland Browns

The former East High star was inactive in Week 2.

Andre James, C, Las Vegas Raiders

The former Herriman High star started at center in the Raiders’ 38-10 loss to the Bills.

Dalton Schultz, TE, Houston Texans

The former Bingham star was targeted seven times and finished with four catches for 34 yards in the Texans’ 31-20 loss to the Colts.

Noah Sewell, LB, Chicago Bears

The former Orem linebacker made one tackle vs. Tampa Bay.

Penei Sewell, OL, Detroit Lions

The former Desert Hills star started at right tackle in the Lions’ 37-31 home loss to the Seahawks.

Jay Tufele, DT, Cincinnati Bengals

The former Bingham star was active vs. the Ravens.

Injured reserve

Positions: Center (C), cornerback (CB), defensive lineman (DL), kicker (K), linebacker (LB), long snapper (LS), offensive lineman (OL), punter (P), quarterback (QB), running back (RB), return specialist (RS), safety (S), tight end (TE), wide receiver (WR).


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