In today's fantasy-obsessed football world, it's easy to overlook the contributions of one position group: offensive line. Well, NFL Network analyst and former Pro Bowl center Shaun O'Hara is here to fix that. Following each batch of games, O'Hara will revisit the O-line performances of all the teams that played and ultimately select that week's top five units, headlined by a Built Ford Tough Offensive Line of the Week.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The rankings that you see below reflect O'Hara's pecking order for Week 12 and Week 12 alone. This is NOT a running O-line Power Rankings for 2018. This is NOT a projection into the future. The goal of this weekly column is to answer one simple question: Which five offensive lines stood out above the rest in last week's action?
Without further ado, the Week 12 winner is ...
New England Patriots
Patriots fans are used to record-setting performances by now. No matter, they got to watch another Sunday when Tom Brady passed Peyton Manning for most passing yards in NFL history, including playoffs (79,416). He couldn't have done it without the physical play of the offensive line, a point of emphasis coming out of New England's bye week. The Patriots' starting five O-linemen didn't give up a sack, allowing just one quarterback hit (yielded by David Andrews) to the New York Jets. Riding excellent efforts by tackles Trent Brown and Marcus Cannon, the Patriots were Pro Football Focus' third-best pass-blocking offensive line of Week 12.
With a healthy Sony Michel back in the mix, the rushing attack amassed a whopping 215 yards. The rookie back racked up 133 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries, while James White added 73 yards on nine totes. New England's running backs led the NFL last week with 123 rushing yards before contact, according to PFF, which is obviously a huge testament to the front five.
The rest of the top O-lines from Week 12
Baltimore Ravens: For the second straight week, the Ravens rushed for more than 240 yards -- with a majority coming in the second half. For the effort, the offensive line was Pro Football Focus' top-ranked run-blocking unit for Week 12. Undrafted RB Gus Edwards had a memorable day on the ground with 118 yards, making him the second rookie in Ravens history to rush for 100-plus yards in back-to-back games (joining Jamal Lewis). In his second start, quarterback Lamar Jackson was a threat in both the run and pass games, rushing for 71 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. His ability to extend plays with his legs has helped pass protection of late, as the offensive line didn't allow a single sack or quarterback hit in the 34-17 win over the Raiders.
Ronnie Stanley, Matt Skura and Orlando Brown had top-notch performances, while Marshal Yanda continues to be the best of the group after missing most of last season with an ankle injury. One area the O-line must improve in: penalties, as Brown was called for a false start and holding penalty, while Alex Lewis was called for a false start.
Cleveland Browns: In the battle of Ohio, where fans sported different hues of orange (see what I did there??), the Browns came out victorious. With rookie Baker Mayfield under center, Cleveland scored a touchdown on four straight drives to open a game for the first time since 1991. Mayfield put his stamp in the history books individually, as well, becoming the first rookie quarterback in NFL history with a 140-plus passer rating in consecutive games (minimum of 20 pass attempts). Fellow rookie Nick Chubb also had a fine day, with 128 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns (including a highlight-reel catch).
The story of the game, though, was the pass protection by the boys up front. Mayfield was kept clean all day, as the unit -- which hasn't allowed a sack in two weeks -- gave up just three hurries. Left tackle Greg Robinson didn't allow a pressure on 31 pass plays, while right tackle Chris Hubbard has not allowed a sack since Week 6. Kevin Zeitler and Joel Bitonio continue to be one of the best guard duos in the league.
Indianapolis Colts: The Colts found a way to steal a victory from the Miami Dolphins and push their win streak to five. The offense amassed 455 total yards (337 passing, 118 rushing) and Andrew Luck threw for three TDs behind another solid offensive line performance. While the unit allowed one sack, it helped Luck go 6-for-6 for 110 passing yards and a TD in the last two drives of the game to seal the win. Evan Boehm deserves kudos for not giving up a sack or quarterback hit while filling in for center Ryan Kelly, who was ruled out with a knee injury. Braden Smith and Quenton Nelson had rough days at the office, though, with Smith allowing a pair of quarterback hits and a sack and Nelson committing two penalties. I'm giving points for everyone's clutch play in crunch time, though.
New Orleans Saints: With another dominating performance in the run game, the Saints' offensive line was named PFF's second-best run-blocking unit of the week. With a boost from "Kamagram," the Saints amassed 150 yards on the ground. Alvin Kamara had 14 attempts for 89 rushing yards (6.4 yards per carry), while Mark Ingram chipped in 52 yards on the ground. Ryan Ramczyk continued his Pro Bowl-caliber play, both as a run-blocker and in the pass game (not allowing a sack or quarterback hit against the Falcons). The second-year right tackle has only relinquished one quarterback hit in the last eight games. Meanwhile, right guard Larry Warford has played great since September but gave up his first sack of the season Sunday. As a unit, the offensive line allowed two sacks and one quarterback hit against its division rival.