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Offensive Line of the Week: Cowboys pave way for Ezekiel Elliott

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 4 and Week 4 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 4 winner is ...

Dallas Cowboys

Now this looked like the offense that had the league's leading rusher two years ago. In a 26-24 win over Detroit, the Cowboys finished with 183 yards on the ground and were led by Ezekiel Elliott's 25 carries for 152 yards (6.1 yards per carry). It's not rocket science, Dallas. You are 18-5 when Zeke gets at least 20 touches since 2016. Keep running the ball.

Zeke, who leads the league in rushing (426 yards), couldn't have done it without a superb performance from an offensive line that returned to form. The O-line didn't commit a penalty and was the second-ranked run-blocking and third-ranked pass-blocking unit of Week 4, according to Pro Football Focus.

After Detroit's defensive line harassed Tom Brady and the Patriots in Week 3, the 'Boys shut the Lions down. The Cowboys' O-line wasn't credited with giving up a sack or quarterback hit and allowed just three total pressures. There were three sacks in the game, but Dak Prescott was credited in each circumstance.

Left tackle Tyron Smith had his best performance of 2018 after logging his second game without giving up a pressure. Center Joe Looney played a solid game by allowing only one pressure. Lastly, rookie Connor Williams is finally settling in at left guard, which is a positive as the team heads into the second quarter of the season.

The rest of the top five O-lines from Week 4

CHICAGO BEARS: The Bears finally got the output from quarterback Mitch Trubisky they've been searching for in their 48-10 victory over the Bucs. Trubisky's HUGE day included 354 passing yards, six touchdowns, no INTs and a 154.6 passer rating. That's not all, as he added a trio of carries for 53 yards. The performance kept his 3-1 Bears atop the NFC North.

The explosion of points stemmed from going 4-for-4 in the red zone, and the offensive line did a great job protecting Trubisky throughout. Although the unit, which didn't allow a sack or QB hit, was much better in pass protection, it still helped its running backs record 139 rushing yards. With all the positive takeaways, though, it's unfortunate right guard Kyle Long had an uncharacteristically tough game, giving up two pressures and getting called for a false-start penalty.

GREEN BAY PACKERS: Although Aaron Rodgers thought the offense was "terrible," the offensive line had a solid outing in a win over Buffalo. The unit helped the Packers convert 11 of 19 third downs on the way to racking up 423 yards of offense. The Packers got the run game going after struggling in the first three weeks of the season. Averaging 89 rushing yards heading into Sunday's contest, Green Bay totaled 141 yards on the ground and was led by Aaron Jones' 65 yards on 11 carries.

The offensive line didn't just pave the way for the ground game, though, as it was PFF's top-ranked pass-blocking unit of Week 4 after not allowing a sack and just three total pressures. There were a pair of sacks in the game but both were credited to Rodgers. Left tackle David Bakhtiari continues to be one of the best pass-blocking tackles in the league, allowing one pressure against the Bills and logging his third game without giving up a sack or quarterback hit. Center Corey Linsley had another good game by not allowing a pressure for the third consecutive week, while right tackle Bryan Bulaga didn't give up a single pressure for the first time this season. Maybe it didn't meet Rodgers' standards, but it was a step up from Week 3.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: The story of the Saints' win was Alvin Kamara. His career day, which included 19 carries for 134 rushing yards and three TDs along with five catches for 47 receiving yards, was boosted by the offensive line's ability to get Kamara to the second level. The young running back had 57 rushing yards before contact in Week 4, per PFF. It's no surprise that the O-line was PFF's No. 1 run-blocking unit.

The big boys up front also kept Drew Brees' jersey clean by not allowing a sack or quarterback hit against the G-Men (the one sack and two QB hits recorded by the Giants were credited to Brees). Left tackle Terron Armstead didn't allow a pressure in one of his best games of the year. On the other side of the line, second-year right tackle Ryan Ramczyk was phenomenal in the run game and gave up only one of the Saints' six total pressures. Finally, right guard Larry Warford deserves some love for only allowing one pressure as well.

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: It may be surprising to some that the Seahawks made it on this list considering they won a game without converting a single third down in 10 tries. But, what helps them solidify a spot here is that they got back to their old running habits and rushed for 171 yards. Running back Mike Davis had himself a career performance with 21 carries for 101 yards and two TDs, becoming just the fourth Seahawks running back to have at least 100 rushing yards in a game since 2016.

The offensive line was excellent in the run game but allowed the Cardinals' defensive line to sack Russell Wilson once. The sack was given up by left tackle Duane Brown, his first of the season. The right side of the O-line was solid, as guard D.J. Fluker and tackle Germain Ifedi each allowed one pressure and had one penalty.

Follow Shaun O'Hara on Twitter @ShaunOHara60.

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