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 4 and Week 4 alone. This is NOT a running O-line Power Rankings for 2017. 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 4 winner is ...
1) Philadelphia Eagles
After going 1-7 on the road in 2016, the Eagles are finding success away from Philadelphia. A dominant offensive line performance at the StubHub Center on Sunday improved Philly to 2-1 on the road (3-1 overall).
The Eagles, who now sit alone atop the NFC East, have committed to running the ball since logging a season-low 17 rushes in the Week 2 loss at Kansas City. In Sunday's 26-24 victory over the Chargers -- who, admittedly, lacked a home-field advantage -- Philadelphia had a season-high 42 runs for 214 yards. LeGarrette Blount led the way with 16 carries for 136 yards, including a beastly 68-yard scamper early in the fourth quarter. While that run certainly helped his average -- which ended up at a robust 8.5 yards per carry -- Blount's offensive line deserves plenty of credit, as Philly boasted the top-ranked run-blocking unit in Week 4, according to Pro Football Focus.
The O-line didn't just shine in the ground game, either, ranking as PFF's fourth-best pass-blocking unit in Week 4. The Eagles' front five allowed one quarterback hit and three hurries, but didn't give up a single sack in the game. Yes, Carson Wentz was sacked once, but it wasn't on the O-line. Philly's second-year quarterback continued to show improvement, finishing the game with 242 passing yards, one touchdown, no picks and a 91.1 passer rating. Offensive tackles Lane Johnson and Jason Peters were impressive in keeping Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa off Wentz. Left guard Stefen Wisniewski continues to play well for the Eagles when rotating with Chance Warmack. Lastly, center Jason Kelce and right guard Brandon Brooks also proved tough in the win.
The Eagles finished fifth in my Week 3 rankings, so this is no one-week uprising. With dominant line play on both sides of the ball, Philadelphia has built some momentum heading into the second quarter of the regular season.
The rest of the top five O-lines from Week 4
2) Los Angeles Rams: This 3-1 team is one of the true surprises of the young season. Averaging an NFL-high 35.5 points per game, Sean McVay's Rams have been a revelation. And on Sunday, they stormed Jerryworld and knocked off the Cowboys, 35-30. Dallas' offensive line entered this season as the envy of the league, but it was the Rams' unit that really made its mark on the game.
Los Angeles racked up 168 yards rushing, ranking as Pro Football Focus' second-best run-blocking unit. Todd Gurley, who has returned to stardom after a disastrous sophomore season, efficiently piled up 121 yards on 23 carries (5.3 yards a pop). Meanwhile, second-year signal caller Jared Goff continues to get time in the pocket. Sacked just once -- by current NFL sack king Demarcus Lawrence -- Goff threw for 255 yards and a pair of scores. Andrew Whitworth continues to play really well on the blind side for his new team.
3) Carolina Panthers: Going into New England is always spectacularly tough. Coming away with a win is even tougher. Carolina's offense just straight took it to the Patriots' reeling defense in the 33-30 triumph, producing 444 total yards while going 6-for-9 on third down and 3-for-5 in the red zone. The Panthers churned out 140 yards on the ground, with Jonathan Stewart accounting for 68 and Cam Newton 44. Newton, though, did most of his damage from the pocket, completing 22 of his 29 passes for 316 yards and three touchdowns (against one pick).
This was the MVP version of Cam we've been waiting to see in 2017 -- and it certainly helped that his offensive line came to play. Although Carolina yielded two sacks, the first was on Cam for running out of the pocket and not getting rid of the football. Pro Football Focus still had Carolina as the fifth-best pass-blocking unit on the week. Center Tyler Larsen, who's filling in for injured five-time Pro Bowler Ryan Kalil, deserves kudos for his fine play.
4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs were able to come away with a 25-23 win over the Giants, despite three missed kicks (two fields goals and an extra point). What is it with this team's kicking woes? To his credit, Nick Folk did bounce back to nail the game winner as time expired. But the botched kicks led to a score that didn't reflect Tampa Bay's true offensive output.
The Bucs recorded a season-high 434 yards of total offense. Jacquizz Rodgers supplied 83 of Tampa's 111 rushing yards, but it was QB Jameis Winston who really made the difference with a fine bounce-back performance. After tossing three interceptions in Week 3, Winston torched Big Blue's secondary with 332 yards passing and three scores (against zero picks). The QB definitely owes his protectors a debt of gratitude. Tampa's O-line did not give up a single sack, allowing just one QB hit and six hurries. Pretty remarkable against the Giants' front. Yes, Olivier Vernon exited the game early, but let's give credit where credit is due. Bucs RT Demar Dotson really kept Jason Pierre-Paul at bay.
5) Seattle Seahawks: This offensive line has taken a whole lot of flak in recent years -- and deservedly so -- but the group did a fine job in the 46-18 win over Indianapolis on Sunday night, particularly in the second half. This game was tight into the third quarter, but then the 'Hawks exploded. Of Seattle's 477 total yards of offense, 337 came in the second half. And the Seahawks set a franchise record with 36 points after the break.
The O-line blew open holes for a number of rushers, as Seattle had five different ball carriers combine for 194 yards. And Seattle's hog mollies kept Russell Wilson nice and clean -- the O-line wasn't credited with a sack or even a single QB hit.