He was everything for the Rams, accounting for 49.3% of Matthew Stafford's 367 yards and picking up six of the offense's first 22 downs either via catch or by drawing pass interference.
As he has done all year, Nacua made near-reckless catches in traffic look easy. He showed not only willingness, but also excitement to fight for more land. The 22-year-old had 59 yards after contact, according to Next Gen Stats, the fourth-most in a game this season. This is in addition to the 297 after contact during the regular season, the second most in the NFL.
Nacua's most significant contributions came early in the second quarter, down 14-3, and in the fourth quarter during the Rams' final drive.
After the second of what would prove to be three straight TDs by Detroit to start the contest, the Rams were desperate for a score to go along with when Nacua took over.
He took Los Angeles' final 60 yards from 72 yards out, first plucking a 10-yard dart from Stafford out of the air through a crowd of three defenders. On the next snap, the rookie moved on third-and-1 to the left of the formation, iced Cam Sutton with a hesitant move and put together a long drive before stabbing between Sutton and CJ Gardner-Johnson to find the end zone.
Later, with the Rams backed to their own 10 and facing a one-point deficit with 6:36 remaining, he caught a cross-court pass near the sticks, broke a tackle and scored a 35-yard total to put Los Angeles ahead with the ball near midfield at the 45.
Like most all-night attack flights, this one eventually stopped in the Lions' territory.
Stafford went to Nacua again for a crucial third-and-14, but couldn't muster the catch after some contact from Sutton at the top of his route.
The Rams punted and never saw the ball again.
That was partly the story of McVay's offense, which benefited from Nacua's impressive play and a great performance from Stafford, but had to settle for field goals on the Lions' 11-yard line or closer three separate times.
That will be a lesson the Rams have learned when they return next year — much to the dismay of 31 other teams — as Nacua benefits from a full season of perfect play under his belt.
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