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 ...
Surprisingly, the Titans weren't distracted by the Jaguars' awful uniforms Thursday night as they completely dominated the contest from start to finish. Tennessee jumped out to an early lead, scoring 27 points and putting up 354 yards on offense in the first half alone. (The Titans finished with 494 total yards, the most they've had in a game since 2009.) To add to their first-half domination, the Titans scored on five of their first six offensive possessions.
The offensive line has done a good job all season in helping running back DeMarco Murray rush for more yards through eight games (756) than he had all of last season in Philadelphia (702). Murray finished with 123 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries (5.9 yards per carry), while rookie Derrick Henry scored his first career touchdown and added 60 yards on 16 carries. Thursday marked the second time this season the Titans, who led the league this week with 92 rushing yards before contact, had 200-plus rushing yards, and it was the seventh straight game with 100-plus rushing yards. Marcus Mariota had an efficient night and was untouched -- zero sacks, no QB hits and five hurries. The second-year QB was 18 for 22 for 270 yards and had a 148.1 passer rating, the second-highest of his career.
Brian Schwenke did a good job filling in at left guard for Quinton Spain, who missed Thursday's game with a knee injury. Rookie right tackle Jack Conklin had another solid performance, while Taylor Lewan -- the highest-graded tackle coming into Week 8 by Pro Football Focus -- had a decent game, with the exception of two penalties.
Other notable O-line units in Week 8
Carolina Panthers: Carolina returned from the bye week refreshed and looking much like the Panthers of yesteryear. The return of Jonathan Stewart helped the offense get back to their "Keep Pounding" ways, as he finished with 95 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries. The Panthers finished with 141 yards on the ground and 349 total yards against Arizona. Despite Calais Campbell's low hit on Cam Newton, the Panthers quarterback was protected rather well -- zero sacks, two QB hits and four hurries attributed to the O-line. Heading into the rematch of the NFC title game, the Cardinals had the 10th most QB hits (41) in the league and were third in sacks (20).
Mike Remmers made his fourth start at left tackle, with Michael Oher still in the concussion protocol. Remmers had two penalties and gave up two hurries but didn't allow a sack or QB hit against Chandler Jones, who had 12 QB hits coming into the game. Remmers and right tackle Daryl Williams did a good job containing Jones and Markus Golden, who had entered the contest with a combined 11 sacks.
Washington Redskins: The good news for Washington is it didn't lose, but it's a shame to go all that way to London and tie when the win was on your kicker's leg. The Redskins finished with 546 yards of total offense (most since 1991, when they did it against the Atlanta Falcons). Washington finished with 100 rushing yards on 31 carries without Matt Jones (knee). Rob Kelley got the start and had 21 carries for 87 yards and a touchdown (4.1 yards per carry).
Kirk Cousins had his second 400-yard game of his career, finishing 38-of-56 passing for 458 yards and two touchdowns. He joins Sonny Jurgensen and Mark Rypien as the only Redskins players with multiple 400-yard passing games. The offensive line only gave up one sack, which is pretty remarkable considering Cousins dropped back 56 times. Pro Football Focus' fifth-best pass-blocking unit also allowed two QB hits in the game.
New Orleans Saints: The Saints were able to snatch a victory against a banged up Seahawks defense that was playing without Kam Chancellor and Michael Bennett. New Orleans, which had its starting lineup on the O-line for the first time in several weeks, did a good job against Cliff Avril and Co. The unit was the second-best pass-blocking offensive line of Week 8, according to Pro Football Focus, allowing two sacks and three hurries but no QB hits.
The Saints recorded 375 yards of total offense, including 123 rushing yards. Tim Hightower stepped in for Mark Ingram, who was benched after a first-quarter fumble, and rushed for 102 yards on 26 carries to give the Saints their first 100-yard rusher of the season. Hightower became just the third 100-yard running back allowed this season by Seattle. (Seattle didn't allow a 100-yard rusher the entire 2015 season).