Even though it went mostly unnoticed in the reviews of the reviews, the LaRon Landry outrage, and the Shaun Suisham buzzsaw, the offensive line was the backdrop to the best offensive performance of the Jim Zorn Era.
For a group with no Pro Bowlers, and two starters who weren’t in the league at the end of last season, they pitched a shutout against the Saints.
For the first time all season, the Redskins didn’t allow a sack. Better still, Jason Campbell was actually comfortable in the pocket—and look at the result.
The Redskins gained 455 yards, 28 first downs, and scored 30 points for the first time under Zorn. They converted on 7-of-12 third downs, a sign that the offensive line provided Campbell with time to keep their drives alive.
Rumbles of Campbell’s improvement, of Devin Thomas’s first career 100-yard game don’t happen without this patchwork offensive line being stitched together properly.
Since the second half of the Atlanta Falcons game (four-and-a-half games), Jason Campbell has been sacked five times. At a rate of one sack per game, that puts the offensive line and Campbell among the league leaders.
For the last four games, Campbell’s sack rate is just 3.4 percent. If this group blocked like that for the entire year, it would place Campbell fifth in sack rate behind Peyton Manning, Kerry Collins, Tom Brady, and Vince Young (and ahead of Drew Brees and Kurt Warner).
The Redskins' offensive line has had trouble with speed rushers. Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Trent Cole abused left tackle Levi Jones two weeks ago. His impact was felt well beyond his three tackles and one sack.
This week, Levi Jones gets the pleasure of trying to stop right defensive end Richard Seymour. The Raiders hosted the Eagles, another NFC East opponent, in Week Six and nudged out a 13-9 win.
The Raiders defense was dominant, Seymour was routinely in the backfield, and he ended up with four tackles and two sacks.
This game has the same sort of feel.
It will be up to Levi Jones and the rest of the Redskins offensive line to neutralize Seymour and the Raiders' pass rush.
The Redskins have finally begun to realize their offensive potential with a month of stability on the offensive line. It's strange that great offensive line play has brought out the best in everyone on the Redskins' offense.
What a coincidence.