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 5 and Week 5 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 5 winner is ...
New York Jets
Just like everyone expected, the New York Jets dominated a stout Broncos defense with a rookie quarterback. Oh, that wasn't the common assumption going into the weekend? The Jets' offense took the tall order of facing a Von Miller-led pass rush and the No Fly Zone head on. After some early miscues -- including a Bilal Powell fumble on the Jets' second offensive play of the game that was followed by a Broncos touchdown and a stalled New York drive that ended with a missed field goal -- it fiercely rallied behind the run game.
Fueled by a stellar offensive line effort, the Jets proved there's no reason to fly when you can drive. And did they ever. Pushing a ground attack that earned 323 rushing yards was Isaiah Crowell. He set a Jets franchise record for individual rushing yards in a single game with 219 on 15 carries -- that's a whopping 14.6 yards per carry. Powell bounced back from the poor start to finish with 20 carries for 99 yards (5.0 yards per carry). The offensive line provided enormous help, as the unit led the league with 184 rushing yards before contact in Week 5, per Pro Football Focus.
The shellacking wasn't just the result of a great ground performance, though. Sam Darnold had a strong outing, completing two deep passes (20-plus air yards) -- the same number that he threw in Weeks 1-4 combined, per Next Gen Stats. One of those, a 76-yard touchdown pass to Robby Anderson, was the longest Jets TD pass since 1998, when Vinny Testaverde launched an 82-yard TD to Leon Johnson.
The offensive line's solid pass protection was led by left tackle Kelvin Beachum and left guard James Carpenter, who allowed only one pressure each. The unit, which didn't allow a sack or quarterback hit to Denver's vaunted pass rush, gave up four total pressures and didn't commit a penalty. There was one sack in the game, but it was credited to Darnold.
The rest of the top O-lines from Week 5
CAROLINA PANTHERS: Thanks to Graham Gano's golden leg, Carolina started 3-1 for the second consecutive season. The offensive line helped the Cam Newton-led unit control time of possession, holding the ball for almost 11 more minutes than the Giants. The Panthers finished with 350 yards of total offense (232 passing, 118 rushing) and were led by a unit that ranked fourth in pass-blocking in Week 5, per PFF. Most impressively, the O-line didn't give up a sack or quarterback hit, allowing just three pressures in 41 dropbacks. Leading the way up front were Taylor Moton and Greg Van Roten.
LOS ANGELES RAMS: The Rams continue to be the league's most explosive offense through five weeks; firing on all cylinders, they recorded 468 total yards of offense. After beating the Seahawks 33-31 on the road, the Rams are off to an unbelievable and historic start. According to NFL Research, Los Angeles became the fifth team to score at least 30 points in each of its first five games to start a season in NFL history. In other words, don't make any plans in January, Rams fans -- three of the previous four teams to do so advanced to the Super Bowl.
Jared Goff put up his fourth straight game with at least 300 passing yards, thanks to an offensive line that hasn't allowed a single sack this season. None! Right tackle Rob Havenstein and right guard Austin Blythe should start getting some recognition, as both are playing at a Pro Bowl level. The Rams capped off a fifth straight win by becoming PFF's third-best pass-blocking and second-best run-blocking unit of the week.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: On a special night for Drew Brees, the Saints absolutely shredded the Redskins' defense for 447 yards. On a 62-yard touchdown pass to Tre'Quan Smith, the 39-year-old quarterback became the NFL's all-time leading passer, surpassing both Brett Favre and Peyton Manning on Monday night. There's no doubt that every offensive lineman who has ever protected Brees, who now has 72,103 passing yards, feels accomplished and thrilled to have been part of his historic career.
The Saints also welcomed back Mark Ingram from suspension, and although his numbers weren't through the roof, he punched in a pair of touchdowns behind PFF's fifth-best run-blocking unit of Week 5. Guard Larry Warford and tackle Ryan Ramczyk had another big outing by holding down the right side of the line and not giving up a single pressure. The offensive line did allow one sack (credited to left guard Andrus Peat) and three pressures but committed zero penalties.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS: The Steelers finally put together the kind of offensive performance we're used to seeing as they thumped the Falcons for 381 total yards on offense. They averaged 6.6 yards per play and converted nine of 12 third-down attempts -- something that couldn't have happened without superb offensive line play. James Conner had another big day, racking up 185 scrimmage yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns. He'll continue to carry the load while the world waits for Le'Veon Bell to report.
The offensive line was great in pass protection, as it didn't allow a sack in a game for the first time this season and limited Atlanta to just three total pressures. The left side of the unit, featuring guard Ramon Foster and tackle Alejandro Villanueva, was outstanding and didn't allow a single pressure. Along with Villanueva, right tackle Marcus Gilbert contained Takk McKinley, who recorded a three-sack game in Week 4. The Falcons' pass rusher pressured Ben Roethlisberger only once in the game. It's no surprise that the Steelers were PFF's fourth-best pass-blocking unit in Week 5.