Puka Nacua & Kobie Turner Take Home Rookie Of The Month Honors For December/January

Puka Nacua & Kobie Turner Take Home Rookie Of The Month Honors For December/January

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The Los Angeles Rams got plenty of season-altering contributions from rookie players in 2023. The two biggest examples of this are wide receiver Puka Nacua and defensive tackle Kobie Turner.

Turner — third-round pick — and Nacua — fifth-round pick — quickly established themselves and became integral parts of the Rams’ postseason-bound success this season.

And both have been rewarded in the final month of the regular season by taking home Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Month honors for December and January:

Nacua’s final month saw him post three 100-yard games to go along with three touchdowns and a Week 18 performance that allowed him to become the all-time rookie receiving leader in both yards and receptions. His performance in December and January vaulted him into the Offensive Rookie of the Year discussion alongside Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud.

Meanwhile, Turner recorded five sacks in the final month of the season to tie Aaron Donald’s record for the most sacks by a rookie defensive tackle since 2012 at nine. He was unable to secure the record on his own but stands next to one of the NFL’s all-time great defensive players.

The Rams being the only team to achieve this feat in 2023 is a testament to the work done by the scouting team in the offseason and the instant impact that Nacua had on the offense and Turner had on the defense. They are both a huge part of why the Rams became a surprise postseason team.

49ers tried to prevent Puka Nacua from breaking record

Nacua was on the verge of making NFL history by breaking both the rookie receptions and receiving yards record. He was four catches and 29 yards away from securing both heading into the Rams’ final game. And perhaps no one was more aware of this than 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan.

Shanahan knew that Nacua needed to play in some portion of Week 18 to make history, and it gave the head coach some motivation in a game that was otherwise meaningless for him. His mission was to extend Nacua’s game as much as possible.

“No, we talked. We both knew what this game was for both of us,” Shanahan said of his pregame conversations with Sean McVay. “But we both know we want to win, but first thing is trying to keep our players safe. We were just trying our butts off to keep them from getting one more yard and one more completion to Puka so he could play him the whole game.”

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