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 week's games, O'Hara will revisit the O-line performances of all the teams that played and ultimately select a Built Ford Tough Offensive Line of the Week. And the winner is ...
No team hit it out of the park this week, but when weighing statistics and the level of competition, I have to hand the award over to "America's Team." The Dallas Express continues to run through top-ranked run defenses, recording at least 100 rushing yards in every game this season. The O-line got off to a slow start against the Ravens, as rookie Ezekiel Elliott had just 26 rushing yards in the first half, but eventually wore down the Ravens in a very physical game. The Cowboys finished with 118 rushing yards and were led by Elliott's 97 yards on 25 carries. The performance marked just the fourth time the Ravens' defense gave up 100-plus rushing yards in a game this season.
The Cowboys finished with 417 yards of total offense -- the eighth straight game in which they've racked up at least 400 yards, which ties the longest streak within a season (2013 Broncos, 2007 Patriots). All of the attention on Tony Romo didn't affect rookie Dak Prescott on Sunday, as he had another huge game with 301 yards and three touchdowns and a passer rating of 127.2. The performance made Prescott the first rookie in NFL history to have back-to-back games with 300-plus passing yards, multiple passing TDs and zero interceptions.
The offensive line -- LT Tyron Smith, LG Ronald Leary, C Travis Frederick, RG Zack Martin and RT Doug Free -- gave up its only sack of the game on the Cowboys' first passing play. Terrell Suggs was held without a sack by Smith, and Leary had one of his best games of the season. Since Week 4, Leary has started at left guard after La'el Collins went down. Leary asked for a trade in the offseason, but kudos to the Cowboys for keeping him around for depth. He's been a huge part of the continuity on the offensive line since Collins' early season exit. This unit helped the Cowboys' offense convert seven of 12 third-down plays (58 percent), which directly correlates to them dominating the time-of-possession battle (35 minutes, 39 seconds).
Other notable O-line units in Week 11
Washington Redskins: The Redskins could've very easily been the O-line of the week if it hadn't been for two early sacks given up by Morgan Moses on two third-down plays. But this group -- LT Ty Nsekhe, LG Shawn Lauvao, C Spencer Long, RG Brandon Scherff and RT Moses -- continues to pave the way for a balanced attack. Filling in for the suspended Trent Williams, Nsekhe was the highest-graded offensive lineman for Washington, with one hurry and one penalty in the game.
The Redskins racked up 515 yards of total offense, with 151 yards on the ground. Rookie Robert Kelley continues to impress with his vertical running style; he finished with a career-high 137 yards and three touchdowns against the struggling Packers. Other than the two sacks to Kirk Cousins, the O-line gave up five hurries but zero QB hits. Cousins had another big game with 375 passing yards and three touchdowns.
Pittsburgh Steelers: While Ben Roethlisberger didn't have to do too much against the winless Browns, Le'Veon Bell sure showed out for his team. He finished with 146 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries (5.2 yards per carry) and added eight receptions for 55 yards. The offensive line -- LT Alejandro Villanueva, LG Ramon Foster, C Maurkice Pouncey, RG David DeCastro and RT Marcus Gilbert -- kept Big Ben clean with no sacks and no QB hits. The Steelers were ranked as the fourth-best run-blocking offensive line of Week 11 by Pro Football Focus, and Villanueva had a solid game despite three QB hurries.
New England Patriots: The Patriots traveled across the country for what was dubbed a trap game, but just like most others that have played the 49ers this season, they ended up with a "W." The offensive line -- LT Nate Solder, LG Joe Thuney, C David Andrews, RG Shaquille Mason and RT Marcus Cannon -- helped the Patriots rack up 444 yards of total offense, with 171 yards on the ground. The run game was led by LeGarrette Blount's 124 yards on 19 carries (6.5 yards per carry). New England was rated by Pro Football Focus as the third-best run-blocking unit in Week 11.