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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Skyler Carlin

Sean McVay applauds Puka Nacua, Ben Skowronek for their contributions in the run game

The duo of Puka Nacua and Ben Skowronek finished with four receptions for 26 yards on seven targets — which was all contributed by Nacua — for the Los Angeles Rams in their win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. Even though they didn’t contribute gaudy numbers in the passing game, Sean McVay credited Nacua and Skowronek for their contributions in the rushing attack.

“The toughness, the selflessness,” McVay said of what he saw from them. “You’re looking at guys playing the receiver position, all the different things that we ask of them. I’m glad you brought up Puka too, because some of the things that we were doing with him, based on their personnel groupings and their matches, you can’t do that unless you have a player like Puka Nacua. He was a huge factor, basically an extension of the line and the tight ends. The run game, we talk about it taking all 11. I thought Matthew’s management of getting us in and out of some of the right looks was key and critical, but it was truly the epitome of it takes all 11 to be able to run the football efficiently and that was on display. I love those guys.”

The Rams ran the ball only three times in the first half, entering the locker room with a 9-6 deficit after two quarters. McVay and the Rams would make a concerted effort to pound the rock in the second half, finishing the game with 179 rushing yards and a touchdown on 28 attempts en route to a 26-9 victory.

Kyren Williams led the way with 158 yards and a score on 20 attempts, and he ripped a few explosive runs. For the running game to be firing on all cylinders, McVay has always preferred to have receivers who can contribute in both facets of the offense.

Nacua has become a trustworthy option for Matthew Stafford through the air, but he’s always able to display his physicality when he’s blocking in the run game. Meanwhile, Skowronek rarely sees any action in the passing attack as the Rams deploy him as a run blocker more often than not.

The offensive line unquestionably deserves a ton of credit for manufacturing rushing lanes for Williams and company in the second half. At the same time, guys like Nacua and Skowronek have proven to be invaluable in the running game for the Rams at the receiver position.

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