Is Johnny Hekker the best punter in the NFL? Rams’ specialist shines on ‘Monday Night Football’

One player stood out above all the rest in Week 7’s “Monday Night Football” game between the Rams and the Bears — but it’s not who you’re probably thinking.

It wasn’t Jared Goff or Nick Foles. It wasn’t Aaron Donald or Khalil Mack. It was Johnny Hekker. Johnny. Freakin’. Hekker.

Hekker had one hell of a performance in the Rams’ 24-10 victory, punting five times for 221 yards (44.2 yards per punt), with all five punts landing inside the Bears’ 10-yard line. Two of those punts landed inside the 5-yard line, including a 57-yard punt downed at the 1 and a 63-yard bomb that pinned Chicago at its 5.

MORE: Bears vs. Rams score, results

All night long, Hekker gave the Rams’ already-stacked defense advantageous field position. After his punts, Chicago took over ensuing possessions at its 7-, 10-, 1-, 6- and 5-yard lines. The Bears’ respective drives went as follows: three-and-out, three-and-out, three-and-out, interception and a turnover on downs.

Former Colts punter — and active punting enthusiast — Pat McAfee was in awe of Hekker’s showing all night long.

McAfee wasn’t the only one enamored with Hekker’s punts, as some folks were joking he should be in the running for MVP.

Hekker certainly seemed to enjoy the recognition, even getting a nod from LA’s star defensive lineman Aaron Donald in his postgame interview with ESPN.

“The best punter in the National Football League,” Donald said. “Johnny’s consistent. He does it every single week, and he was a big help for us today. He did an amazing job, he was on fire — I think he deserves a game ball. He had a hell of a game.”

“It’s just great that Aaron Donald knows my name,” Hekker said after the game, laughing.

Hekker now leads the NFL with 16 punts downed inside the 20: one ahead of Seahawks punter Michael Dickson. It just goes to prove that the NFC West truly is stacked with great talent.

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