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 9 and Week 9 alone. This is NOT a running O-line Power Rankings for 2017. 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 9 winner is ...
1) Philadelphia Eagles
This Broncos-Eagles matchup was supposed to be pretty even. Not so much, as Philadelphia rampaged to a 51-23 win. Even without star left tackle Jason Peters -- who was lost for the year in Week 7 -- the Eagles' offensive line overwhelmed Denver's vaunted defense in both the ground game and the aerial attack. Clearly no easy task against this Denver defense. Von Miller's a bona fide game wrecker, and Shane Ray is back in action after spending the first seven weeks of the season on IR with a wrist issue. And then there's the "No Fly Zone" secondary, which typically lives up to its nickname. But Philly posted 419 yards of offense in an extremely balanced manner: 222 passing, 197 rushing. That kind of all-around effort against such a talented defense is what gets an offensive line the top slot in this column.
Philadelphia's big bodies up front blew Denver off the ball, allowing Eagles rushers to gain a healthy 5.3 yards per carry. Not surprisingly, Philly was the top run-blocking unit of Week 9, according to Pro Football Focus. Jason Kelce played a fine game in all facets, as one of PFF's highest-graded centers of the week. Newly acquired running back Jay Ajayi undoubtedly enjoyed this effort from his offensive line. In 138 carries for the Dolphins this season, the running back didn't hit paydirt once. Then, in his fifth carry as an Eagle, Ajayi cruised through a massive hole on the left side of the line and jaunted 46 yards to the end zone. Welcome to Philadelphia!
In the passing game, the Eagles' starting five became the first offensive line this season to not give up a single sack or QB hit against the Broncos' pass rush. Carson Wentz, whose O-line yielded just three QB hurries, certainly didn't hurt his MVP candidacy, throwing four more touchdown passes to bring his league-leading total to 23. Halapoulivaati Vaitai played solid at LT in place of Peters, giving up a pair of hurries and nothing else.
The rest of the top five O-lines from Week 9
2) Los Angeles Rams: Like Philadelphia, Los Angeles put 51 points on the board, running roughshod over the Giants in their own building with a 34-point victory -- the Rams' largest road win since 1970. Eclipsing the 40-point mark for the third time this season, L.A. unsurprisingly leads the NFL in scoring. The Rams piled up a whopping 473 total yards of offense.
Los Angeles' O-line didn't allow a single sack or QB hit, ranking as Pro Football Focus' No. 1 pass-blocking unit in Week 9. This pristine protection allowed Jared Goff to toss up 311 passing yards. Most impressively, the sophomore signal caller completed 14 passes in the game ... with four going for touchdowns! (Goff was the first Rams QB with four passing TDs in a game since 2006.) The O-line also paved the way for a solid committee effort on the ground, with Todd Gurley, Malcolm Brown and Tavon Austin combining for 150 yards.
3) Arizona Cardinals: It's a shame it took Carson Palmer breaking his arm for the Cardinals to commit to the run, but here we are. In a 20-10 win at San Francisco, Arizona logged 73 plays -- with 43 runs. Adrian Peterson took the bulk of the load on the ground, carrying the ball a career-high 37 times -- pretty remarkable for the bell-cow back who's been in the league since 2007 -- for 159 yards. This was Peterson's 51st career 100-yard game -- and second in just three games with the Cardinals. The left side of the line deserves particular praise -- LG Alex Boone and LT D.J. Humphries put on a clinic in double-team blocking, as they repeatedly dumped DeForest Buckner into the linebackers' laps on running plays.
In relief of Palmer, Drew Stanton (201 yards passing, one touchdown, one interception) did a good job of getting the ball out and using his legs to get out of trouble. He was not sacked or hit at all. It was a good all-around game plan, with solid execution by the men up front.
Gang Green primarily pummeled the Bills with the ground attack. The Jets rushed for more yards on Thursday (194) than the Bills had given up in the previous three weeks combined (188). And 121 of those rushing yards from New York came in the second half. Matt Forte enjoyed his best game of the season, with 77 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, the O-line didn't give up a sack and allowed just one hit. Quite remarkable, given Buffalo's ferocious front. As a result, Josh McCown provided another efficient -- if not spectacular -- game throwing the football, completing 14 of his 20 passes for 140 yards and a touchdown. He continues to engineer this offense down the field and is currently completing 70.4 percent of his passes, which would break Chad Pennington's franchise record (68.9 in 2002).
5) Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jags completely dominated Cincinnati in Sunday's 23-7 win, eclipsing 400 yards of offense while converting 66 percent of their third-down attempts and winning the time-of-possession battle, 40:14 to 19:46. Eclipsing 40 minutes in TOP is staggering -- this was the most lopsided possession advantage in an NFL game this season.
Despite the absence of star rookie RB Leonard Fournette, who was held out of Sunday's game after violating team rules, Jacksonville still churned out 149 rushing yards. This is a testament to the offensive line, though RBs Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon deserve credit for picking up the slack with Fournette inactive. The O-line kept Blake Bortles clean (zero sacks, one QB hit) and the much-maligned QB responded with a solid effort from the pocket (259 yards passing, one touchdown, zero picks). Rookie LT Cam Robinson had a tough day at the office, giving up the lone QB hit and four hurries, but he might have been battling through an ankle injury that he first suffered a few weeks back and appeared to retweak. The other bookend, right tackle Jermey Parnell, enjoyed his best game of the year. Tyler Shatley continues to play well at center, while Brandon Linder -- who was the team's starting pivot before injury -- moved to right guard and did a great job in the run game (though he did give up three hurries).