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WFT Daily: Washington's Offensive Line Has Been Outstanding Through 4 Games


The regular season is here, and we have you covered as the Washington Football Team progresses through its second season under head coach Ron Rivera. Stay up to date with "WFT Daily," which comes out every weekday evening.

Ereck Flowers wasn't aware of how the Washington Football Team's offensive line was performing compared to the rest of the NFL when asked ahead of Week 4's matchup, and he didn't seem anxious to talk about it. 

Granted, a 1-2 start doesn't put someone in a good mood to boast about accomplishments.

"If you're not winning, you kind of want to focus on the things you need to correct," Flowers said. 

Well, now is as good a time as any to say it: Washington's offensive line has been performing at a high level lately.

Over the past four games, Washington's offensive line has proven itself as one of the best groups when it comes to pass protection. It's given up four sacks in that span, which is the second-fewest in the NFL, and it's adjusted sack rate of 3.7% is the second-lowest. It's a welcome change for the team, and the players' work has been appreciated by their teammates.

"​​The offensive line has been doing a great job these last four games," quarterback Taylor Heinicke said after Washington's 34-30 win over the Atlanta Falcons. "I want to keep saying that because they don't get enough credit. So the offensive line, they did a great job."

As the one who benefits the most from how the offensive line plays, Heinicke has had a lot to be thankful for over the past month. Against the Falcons, the group allowed a total of two pressures over the course of 67 offensive snaps. As a result, Heinicke had a clean pocket to complete 23-of-33 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns.

Heinicke's throw time averaged nearly three seconds in Week 4, so the offensive line more than handled their responsibilities. What's more, Pro Football Focus also named the group its Offensive Line of the Week.

"Washington's line lost only eight combined reps on 38 dropbacks," said PFF's Anthony Treash. "And given that Taylor Heinicke was one of a few quarterbacks to surpass three seconds per throw for the week, that's quite impressive."

Sacks are normally known as drive-killers, and while the few sacks Washington has allowed are still not ideal, it hasn't backed them up too badly. In fact, the sacks have only resulted in a combined loss of 18 yards. It's a complete flip from how the offensive line has played over the past two years, when it allowed a combined 100 sacks and were tied for second-most in 2020.

And when Heinicke has time to throw, it allows him to find playmakers like Terry McLaurin and let them create game-changing moments. That's exactly what happened on McLaurin's second touchdown of the day, which cut the Falcons' 30-22 lead down to two points.

"They did an unbelievable job holding up all day," McLaurin said. "Those guys are warriors, man."

It would seem the Saints' pass-rush, one of the better groups in 2020, is struggling to have similar success in 2021, but many of the same players that helped them amass 45 sacks are still on the roster. It'll be another measuring stick for Washington's offensive line to overcome.

Judging by how it's played so far, the group can handle itself.

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