Skip to main content

Offensive Line of the Week: Rams dominate from start to finish

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 3 and Week 3 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 3 winner is ...

Los Angeles Rams

No team is playing better on both sides of the ball than the Rams. The offensive line has been the catalyst of explosive plays, helping the offense total 521 yards against the Chargers. Averaging 7.2 yards per play, the Rams took advantage of their short-yardage situations, converting on eight of 11 third downs and three of four red-zone appearances. This kind of production doesn't happen without stellar O-line play, which helped the offense chalk up 33 first downs in the win.

Todd Gurley continues to show out behind this unit, finishing with 23 attempts for 105 rushing yards and a touchdown and five catches for 51 receiving yards. He's been the biggest weapon in the NFL since 2017, ranking first in scrimmage yards (2,469 -- 137.2 yards per game), scrimmage touchdowns (24) and rush attempts (341) going back to Week 1 of last season. The offensive line has done a great job moving the line of scrimmage with combo blocks, and it helped the running backs -- Gurley and Malcolm Brown -- gain 84 rushing yards before contact on Sunday, per Pro Football Focus.

The O-line was PFF's No. 1 run-blocking and pass-blocking unit of Week 3, making this decision quite easy. There was one sack in the game, but the culpability lied with quarterback Jared Goff. The unit gave up just two pressures on Sunday, with another flawless day from left tackle Andrew Whitworth. The veteran blind-side protector hasn't allowed a single pressure over the last two weeks -- but he'll be tested on Thursday, with the Vikings' pass rush coming to town.

The rest of the top five O-lines from Week 3

CAROLINA PANTHERS: If an offense rushes for more than 200 yards, its O-line is going to be on this list. The Panthers finished with 230 yards on the ground, led by Christian McCaffrey's 184 yards on 28 carries. That's 6.6 yards per carry for McCaffrey! The O-line was instrumental in Carolina's monster day on the ground, as the Panthers led the NFL in Week 3 with 109 rushing yards before contact, per PFF.

More impressively, Carolina is doing it without its two starting tackles, as Daryl Williams and Matt Kalil both landed on IR with knee injuries this month. Taylor Moton has played well at right tackle, allowing one hurry in Sunday's win, while Chris Clark is holding his own on the other side. Greg Van Roten and Tyler Larsen have formed a nice guard tandem on either side of the ageless Ryan Kalil. In total, the unit allowed one sack and 12 hurries against a stout Bengals defense.

It was nice to see the Panthers get back to their "Keep Pounding" ways under offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Looking forward to seeing more of this.

DETROIT LIONS: There were several firsts for Detroit on Sunday night, as Matt Patricia earned his first win as head coach and Kerryon Johnson became the first 100-yard rusher for the Lions since Reggie Bush in 2013. The Lions' offense got off to a fast start vs. New England, scoring on their first three possessions, on the way to 414 total yards (159 rushing, 255 passing). The success of the ground game led to the Lions winning the time of possession battle by 19 minutes. That's impressive, considering who was on the opposite sideline.

Detroit got a great performance from first-round draft pick Frank Ragnow, as the rookie left guard didn't allow a single pressure on 40 pass plays. Ragnow, PFF's highest-graded player on the Lions' unit this week, also provided a huge boost in the run game, as half of the team's total rushing yards came from behind the left guard. Center Graham Glasgow and left tackle Taylor Decker, who relinquished a sack and one pressure, continue to play well for a group that was PFF's third-best run-blocking and pass-blocking unit this week.

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: The Chiefs' offensive line helped Patrick Mahomes to another superb outing. With three TD passes against the 49ers, Mahomes has the most scoring strikes (13) through the first three games of a season in NFL history, edging out Peyton Manning (12). Believe me, the O-line takes a lot of pride in that. Although the big men up front never get the credit, those guys wear it like a badge of honor.

The Chiefs didn't give up a single sack, but allowed three quarterback hits. Eric Fisher and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif each allowed five pressures, and the latter was also hit with a couple of penalties. Right tackle Mitchell Schwartz more than did his part by allowing only one hurry. In addition, Schwartz, Cameron Erving and Mitch Morse continue to play at a high level and boost this dynamic Chiefs offense.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: No surprise that the Saints' offense rolled to 534 total yards. The icing on the cake? A 15-play, 80-yard touchdown drive in overtime. The O-line showed up in a major way late to keep the Falcons from getting an opportunity in OT.

Drew Brees carved up the Falcons in record-breaking fashion, surpassing Hall of Famer Brett Favre to become the league's all-time leader in completions (6,326). Brees completed 39 of 49 passes for 396 yards, three touchdowns (in addition to a pair of rushing scores) and a 120.7 passer rating. He doesn't do all that without good protection. Alvin Kamara also did some damage -- more as a receiver than a running back -- racking up 190 scrimmage yards.

Although the offensive line allowed one sack, it gave up just six total pressures on 49 passes and didn't allow any other quarterback hits. Both tackles, Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk, did a great job in pass protection. Left tackle Armstead allowed only one hurry, while second-year pro Ramczyk gave up the lone sack. The unit must clean up interior play and penalties with left guard Josh LeRibeus, who struggled while filling in for an injured Andrus Peat (ankle), getting called for a pair of penalties.

Follow Shaun O'Hara on Twitter @ShaunOHara60.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content