Through the second week of the season, here are five key storylines for NFL offensive lines:
1. Kansas City can't capitalize
Larry Johnson owners were salivating at the opportunity for Johnson to run all over the Oakland defense in Week 2, given the poor performance the Raiders defense had against the Broncos in Week 1. The result was the exact opposite, as the Kansas City offensive line was unable to create any room for Johnson and the Raiders rolled up 300 yards rushing. Johnson finished the game with 12 carries for 22 yards, and the Kansas City offense gained just 55 yards on the ground. The line also allowed five sacks in the game, firmly establishing itself as one of the worst blocking units in the NFL.
2. Chicago's line still solid
Coming off of an impressive Week 1 performance against the Colts, the Chicago offensive line had another strong performance against the Panthers in Week 2. Although the Bears lost the game, the play of the offensive line was not to blame, as the unit paved the way for 115 yards on 29 carries (3.9 YPC). Even more impressive was the pass protection, as the line allowed just one sack in 32 pass attempts. If the Chicago offensive line can continue to play at its current level, rookie running back Matt Forte should be able to produce consistently, and the Bears can remain competitive in the NFC North.
Up Next: vs Tampa Bay. Tampa Bay shut down the Atlanta running game in Week 2, and this is not a good matchup for the Chicago offensive line. However, the Bears are at home and this performance will be a telltale sign of how far this unit has come.
3. Jacksonville's patchwork line acceptable
We can't be overly critical in evaluating the Jacksonville offensive line. The Jaguars were without three starters along the line on Sunday, and one injured backup was forced into the starting lineup. Jacksonville added three linemen last week, but they will need time to adjust to the Jaguars' offense. After totaling just 33 yards on the ground in Week 1, the Jaguars ran for 98 yards on 27 carries (3.6 YPC), while the line allowed just two sacks in 28 pass attempts against the Bills. The Jacksonville offense is predicated on the running game, and although the line lost a host of talent to injuries, the unit should improve over the next few weeks due to a great coaching staff, continued focus on running the ball and the reserve linemen getting more reps and building chemistry.
4. San Francisco continues to struggle with pass protection
Although the 49ers won at Seattle, the offensive line was more of a hindrance than help. One of the major concerns coming into the season was the talent of the offensive line, and its ability to pass protect in offensive coordinator Mike Martz's offense. The Niners gave up eight sacks to Seattle in Week 2, after allowing four to the Cardinals in Week 1. Frank Gore and the San Francisco offense totaled 93 yards on 23 carries (4.0 YPC), however, 32 of those yards came from quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan scrambling out of the pocket due to poor pass protection.
5. Raiders roll against the Chiefs
The Raiders' offensive line had a huge performance against the Chiefs, busting open holes to the tune of 300 yards rushing on 37 carries (8.1 YPC), led by running back Darren McFadden's 164 yards. The line did not allow a sack -- the Raiders passed just 17 times for 55 yards -- but the success in the running game enabled the offense to abandon the passing game. While the performance was admittedly against a lackluster Chiefs defense, it was a divisional game on the road, in a tough place to play (Arrowhead Stadium).
- Corey Bertram is a fantasy writer for Rotowire.com. For more information, please visit Rotowire.com*