Offensive Line of the Week: Rams rule Khalil Mack-less Raiders

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 1 and Week 1 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 1 winner is ...

Los Angeles Rams

The Rams got off to a slow start, which, in theory, should've been expected since most starters didn't play much (if at all) in the preseason. The first half was rocky for Sean McVay's offense, with 10 points and 98 yards, but the Rams throttled the Khalil Mack-less Raiders for 23 points and 267 yards in the second half. It looks as if this offense -- thanks, in part, to the high-level play of its O-line -- will pick up where it left off last season.

Todd Gurley, the NFL's reigning Offensive Player of the Year, looked as explosive as ever, racking up 20 carries for 108 yards on the ground and three receptions for 39 yards and a touchdown through the air. Gurley wore down the Raiders in the second half on the way to notching his 12th career 100-yard rushing game. He can thank Rob Havenstein, who signed a four-year, $32.5 million contract extension in August, for the boost, as the right tackle earned the highest run-blocking grade for Week 1 at his position, according to Pro Football Focus. He proved early on that he's well worth the money. On the other side, veteran Andrew Whitworth continues to be one of the best free-agent signings at left tackle in recent years.

Jared Goff had a solid outing in the first game of his third NFL season, thanks in large part to his stout front. Goff was kept clean all game, as the line didn't give up a sack or hit (and just two pressures). The interior of the offensive line -- left guard Rodger Saffold, center John Sullivan and right guard Austin Blythe -- didn't yield a single pressure. Saffold is on a bit of a heater, as he hasn't given up a sack in 11 straight games.

The Rams were one of my five nominees for the 2017 Offensive Line of the Year. This unit's already making an early push to finish at the top this time around.

The rest of the top five O-lines from Week 1

Denver Broncos: Even with a lot of hype around Denver this offseason, the football community wasn't sure what to think, with Case Keenum and a pair of rookies (Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay) in the backfield. The Broncos put up 470 yards of total offense, with Keenum overcoming three interceptions and finishing with 329 pass yards and three touchdowns. But the most impressive aspect of the attack? Seeing the green RB duo combine for 142 yards on the ground, each with 15 carries for 71 yards. The great job by the offensive line made it easy on the young backs, as Denver led the NFL in Week 1 with 94 rushing yards before contact, per Pro Football Focus. (Fun tidbit: Freeman was the first rookie to start the season opener for the Broncos since Hall of Famer Terrell Davis in 1995, and Lindsay just received permission from Davis to wear the No. 30.)

Left tackle Garett Bolles had one of the best performances of his young career, while Matt Paradis was PFF's highest-graded center in Week 1. Denver will need to clean up its pass protection, allowing two sacks against Seattle, but this was a promising start for the unit.

Philadelphia Eagles: The defending Super Bowl champions got off to a slow start following a 45-minute weather delay, but were good enough to hold off the Falcons and earn an 18-12 victory. The Eagles' offensive line kept Nick Foles clean, allowing just one quarterback hit and seven total pressures -- but zero sacks. Jason Kelce earned the highest run-blocking grade of all centers in Week 1, per PFF, while Jason Peters -- in his first game back from injury -- didn't allow a single pressure on 42 pass plays. Remarkably, the Eagles' O-line hasn't allowed a sack since Week 16 of 2017, the longest active streak in the NFL.

The balanced offensive attack didn't overwhelm the Falcons' defense, but came up big in crucial moments, as Philly converted 50 percent of the time on third down and 66 percent in the red zone. Jay Ajayi came up big in the red zone with two touchdowns -- already eclipsing the one rushing TD he had in 2017.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: There were a ton of question marks about how this offense was going to perform with Jameis Winston serving a three-game suspension. Well, we got our answer: Fitzmagic strikes again! Nobody expected the Ryan Fitzpatrick-led Bucs to score 48 points -- a 31-point first half -- on the Saints in New Orleans. The veteran was on fire behind a great offensive line performance that helped him throw for 417 yards, four touchdowns and zero picks, giving him a 156.2 passer rating. Fitzpatrick became just the fourth QB in NFL history with at least 400 pass yards, four TDs and zero INTs in a Week 1 performance (Drew Brees in 2016; Peyton Manning in 2013; Phil Simms in 1984).

Tampa spent a lot of money signing center Ryan Jensen (four-year, $42 million deal) in the offseason, and it's paying off so far. The offensive line didn't give up a single sack, while the left side of the unit -- Jensen, left guard Ali Marpet and left tackle Donovan Smith -- didn't allow a pressure. Marpet turned heads with his performance and was PFF's highest-graded left guard in Week 1. One area the unit needs to clean up moving forward is penalties (four vs. the Saints).

With Tampa facing a spectacularly tough three-game slate to open this season (at New Orleans, vs. Philadelphia, vs. Pittsburgh), it's a great sign the O-line is playing well early on.

Washington Redskins:"The Hogs" are back! And they brought Adrian Peterson back to life in a thumping of his former team. The Redskins finished their road win over Arizona with 429 yards of total offense, including 182 yards on the ground. The rushing attack included a heavy dose of Peterson, mixed in with the Chris Army Knife (a.k.a. Chris Thompson). The stellar offensive line helped Thompson total 65 yards rushing and 63 receiving, with the versatile back scoring Washington's first touchdown of the season on a 13-yard catch-and-run. But most notable was the fact that the unit assisted Peterson in getting his 100th career touchdown, the icing on the cake of his huge day (26 carries for 96 yards and one TD; two rec. for 70 yards). The Redskins' backs rushed for 60 yards before contact -- second-most in Week 1 by PFF's numbers -- and had seven explosive runs of 10 yards or more.

Alex Smith was steady as usual, and although the O-line gave up one sack, this unit was great against the blitz. The line allowed one hurry against 13 blitzes. Trent Williams looks to be back to Pro Bowl form, giving 2017 sack leader Chandler Jones all he could handle. Yes, Williams gave up one sack to Jones, but the blind-side protector kept the pass rusher relatively quiet otherwise.

Follow Shaun O'Hara on Twitter @ShaunOHara60.

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