LOS ANGELES – It's been a season of misery for the Los Angeles Rams this year, but on Saturday, they found a silver lining.
Punter Johnny Hekker put an exclamation point on the most successful special teams season in NFL history when he set the all-time record for most punts inside the 20-yard-line when he pinned the San Francisco 49ers on the 13-yard marker in the second quarter.
The former Oregon State punter surpassed Dave Zastudil's record when he placed 46 punts inside the 20 with the Arizona Cardinals in 2012. Hekker's record was even more impressive as he broke the mark on just 85 tries compared to Zastudil who set the mark on 112 kicks.
Hekker was named to the Pro Bowl earlier this week for the third time in his career.
Hekker spoke with NBC LA on Tuesday at the team's practice facility in Thousand Oaks to talk about his Pro Bowl selection and the record.
"The number really snuck up on us," Hekker said about his 47th punt. "We didn't even really think about it until probably the last weeks, when we were like, 'Hey, damn, we're at 40.' We're just trying to do what we can to help this team. If records come with that, that's a positive."
Hekker is also the league leading in punting average with over 46.2 net yards per punt, and has already kicked the ball further than 75 yards twice this season.
"I'm so grateful to be playing under Coach Fassel and with the rest of the special teams group that takes so much pride in what we do," continued Hekker. "I really owe it to the other guys that go out there and make me look good on a consistent basis."
Interim head coach John Fassel has been the Rams special teams coach since Hekker joined the Rams in 2012 and credits a lot of his success to the high-energy coach that has developed arguably the best punter in the league.
He extended his record to 50 punts inside the 20 by the time the game was over as the Rams lost a heartbreaker, blowing a 14-point fourth quarter lead, 22-21, to the 49ers at the LA Coliseum.