Johnny Hekker Has Historic Night As Rams Punter Steals Shows on MNF

Being a punter is one of the less glamorous and most under-appreciated jobs in the NFL. While players on both sides of the ball routinely command headlines and even kickers get their share of the spotlight on occasion, punters generally operate in relative anonymity.

Occasionally, however, even they can steal the show as Los Angeles Rams punter Johnny Hekker found out on Monday night in the Rams' 24-10 win over the Chicago Bears.

The All-Pro selection was simply faultless, racking up 221 yards over his five punts at an average of 44.2 yards per punt. Distance was matched by remarkable accuracy, with all of Hekker's five punts landing inside Chicago's 10-yard line and two of those efforts pinning the Bears inside their own five yards.

To put the figures into perspective, Hekker is the first player in the last 30 years to punt the ball at least five times in the same game and have each effort land within the 10-yard line.

Hekker's efforts put the Rams defense in perfect field position to harass Chicago's struggling offense, whose drives following his five punts averaged a mere 4.8 plays.

His first effort downed at the seven-yard line, with the Bears going three-and-out on the ensuing drive and the same scenario unfolding following the Rams' second punt, which resulted in Chicago getting the ball at their own 10-yard line.

Hekker's third punt of the night was arguably his best effort, a 57-yard bomb that stopped at the Bears' one-yard line and resulted in them going three-and-out for the third consecutive drive following a punt. Things then took a turn for the worse for Chicago, as Nick Foles was intercepted after Hekker had pinned the Bears inside their six-yard line with a booming 63-yard effort.

With the Rams' final punt of the night, meanwhile, Hekker put the Bears back at their own five-yard line, which resulted in Chicago turning the ball over on downs on the ensuing drive.

The Rams ran out comfortable winners to improve to 5-2 for the season and head coach Sean McVay was full of praise for Hekker.

"He was unbelievable," McVay said in a postgame interview with ESPN's Lisa Salters.

"To have five punts, all of those end up inside the 10-yard line, it was a big-time deal. Very rarely do you give a punter a game ball after a game, but he was very deserving of it tonight."

Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald echoed his coach's message and heaped praise on his teammate.

"The best punter in the National Football League," the two-time Defensive Player of the Year said.

"Johnny's consistent, he [can] do it every single week. He was a big help for us today. He did an amazing job, he was on fire. I think he deserves the game ball. He had a helluva game."

Johnny Hekker, Los Angeles Rams
Johnny Hekker #6 of the Los Angeles Rams punts the ball in the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bears at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, on October 26. Hekker had a memorable night in the Rams' 24-10 win. Joe Scarnici/Getty