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 11 and Week 11 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 11 winner is ...
New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints have dominated their opponents in each of the last two games. In Week 11, however, they dismantled the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, making Sunday's victory all the more impressive. The Saints scored 48 points against a team that entered the game with the league's sixth-ranked scoring defense, leading the Eagles to change the lyrics of their fight song to "Cry Eagles Cry." The Saints are the fourth team in NFL history to score 45-plus points in three straight games, per Elias.
The Saints amassed an astounding 546 yards on offense, with 173 coming on the ground thanks to the dynamic duo I like to call "Kamagram." Mark Ingram had 103 rushing yards and two touchdowns, while Alvin Kamara added 71 yards. In the air attack, Drew Brees continues to make his case for the MVP award. The 39-year-old recorded his 23rd career game with at least four touchdown passes and zero interceptions (the most such games in NFL history).
The Saints' offensive line stepped up to the plate against a solid Eagles pass rush, allowing zero sacks and only one quarterback hit. That's especially impressive considering Jermon Bushrod started at left tackle in place of the injured Terron Armstead -- it was Bushrod's second start of the season. Right guard Larry Warford and right tackle Ryan Ramczyk excelled in both pass pro and run blocking. According to Pro Football Focus, the Eagles' defense had the second-highest pressure rate this season (41.4 percent) but generated pressure at just a 21.8-percent clip against the Saints (second-lowest mark in the league this week). Overall, it was an outstanding effort for the second straight week.
The rest of the top O-lines from Week 11
Chicago Bears: In a hyped NFC North battle, the Bears controlled the game up front and had the ball for nine more minutes than the Vikings. Chicago had 308 yards of total offense with 148 yards on the ground (115 in the first half) from a combination of Tarik Cohen, Jordan Howard and some planned (and not-so-planned) runs by Mitch Trubisky. The second-year passer had 43 rushing yards against Minnesota and now leads all quarterbacks with 363 rushing yards this season. It's no surprise that the Bears were PFF's top-ranked run-blocking unit of Week 11.
The offensive line was remarkable against a Vikings defense that recorded 10 sacks in its last time out. Rookie left guard James Daniels had his best game of the season by not allowing a pressure. Tackles Bobby Massie and Charles Leno Jr. excelled against defensive ends Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen. Chicago gave up five total pressures, including a sack allowed by right guard Bryan Witzmann.
Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys are making a charge in the NFC East after back-to-back road wins that were fueled by a heavy dose of Ezekiel Elliott. Their star running back amassed 201 scrimmage yards, his fourth career game with 200-plus scrimmage yards (since 1970, Eric Dickerson is the only player with more such games in his first 35 career contests, with five). Zack Martin played a huge role in the run game Sunday, as the Cowboys gained 84 of their 132 rushing yards (8.4 yards per carry) from behind the right guard, according to PFF.
Dak Prescott was sacked twice in the game, but only one -- given up by right tackle La'el Collins -- was attributed to the offensive line. Other than that sack, the O-line allowed just two other pressures. Left tackle Tyron Smith had his third clean game of the season and hasn't allowed a pressure since Week 7, per Pro Football Focus. Center Joe Looney did not give up a pressure in the game, while left guard Xavier Su'a-Filo filled in nicely for injured rookie Connor Williams.
Indianapolis Colts:The Colts thumped the Tennessee Titans, who were coming off a big win over New England, and have rattled of four wins in a row to get back to .500. Indy racked up 38 points against the NFL's No. 1 red-zone defense, as it scored on four of five red-zone appearances. Andrew Luck has been exceptional of late, throwing three or more touchdowns in seven straight games -- only Peyton Manning (eight) and Tom Brady (10) have had longer streaks. The offensive line, which was PFF's second-best pass-blocking unit this week, excelled again in pass pro and hasn't allowed a sack in five straight games. Luck was pressured only once on 32 dropbacks, the lowest pressure rate by a defense in a game all season, per Next Gen Stats.
The unit suffered a big blow, though, when center Ryan Kelly went down with a knee injury. Evan Boehm played well for 12 snaps in relief, a good sign considering Kelly won't play this week. Left tackle Anthony Castonzo had the best game of the O-linemen, while guards Quenton Nelson and Mark Glowinski didn't allow a pressure.
New York Giants: The Giants' offense has looked completely different of late with a much greater commitment to the run game, which has contributed to better pass protection. In the team's second straight victory, and first home win of the season, the offense totaled 359 yards (196 passing, 163 rushing) against the Bucs and was led by Saquon Barkley. The rookie had 27 carries for a career-high 142 rushing yards and three total touchdowns (two rushing). Barkley's 142 rushing yards were the most by a Giants rookie since Ahmad Bradshaw's 151 yards in Week 16 of 2007. (Side note: That game sparked our Super Bowl run.)
Eli Manning was nearly perfect against the Bucs, completing 17 of 18 passes for 231 yards, two touchdowns and a 155.8 passer rating. It's amazing how much better the veteran looks with a clean pocket. The offensive line was credited with allowing one of the four sacks on the day, with Nate Solder giving it up. Right guard Jamon Brown was solid for a second straight week, proving to be a gem of a find off the waiver wire for GM Dave Gettleman.