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Saints 2017 Year in Review: Max Unger

Max Unger led one of the best offensives lines in the NFL.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Max Unger started all 16 games in the 2017-18 season and bolstered one of the best rushing attacks in the National Football League, which ranked 5th in total rush yards in the NFL. The Saints averaged 129.4 rush yards per game, which also ranked 5th in the league.

Before the season started, one of the questions would be the strength of the Saints offensive line and the depth. The Saints proved week in and week out that they had one of the top offensive lines in the league even with injuries to starting right tackle Zach Strief.

The lineup of Terron Armstead, Andrus Peat, Max Unger, Larry Warford, Ryan Ramczyk and their 6th man Senio Kelemete withstood injuries and multiple line combinations throughout the season. Unger was the lone veteran along the line to lead the offensive group the entire year. Before the season, Unger had to have surgery on a old nagging foot injury, and it was reported early he would miss the beginning of the season. Instead, Unger didn’t miss a single game.

The offensive lines best performance came in Week 10 against the Buffalo Bills, as the Saints won 47-10 and dominated the game on the ground. New Orleans ran for 298 yards on the ground, as Mark Ingram carried 21 times for 131 yards and found the end zone three times while partner in crime Alvin Kamara had 12 carries for 106 yards and a touchdown. Even third string running back/kickoff returner Trey Edmunds carried 9 times for 48 yards and notched his first career touchdown.

The Saints offensive line controlled the trenches all game long and dominated the Bills all afternoon. The offensive line’s most impressive drive came in the third quarter where they ran 10 plays, 94 yards, all on the ground, capped off by a seven yard run for a touchdown by Drew Brees.

Terron Armstead devastated linebacker Eddie Yarbough, tossing the 259-pound linebacker like a string of beads at Mardi Gras. Brees dropped back for a pass, but then rolled to his left only to see that Armstead cleared the path to the end zone where Brees later commented, “I saw Terron throw that block so I guess I have to run now,” with a chuckle.

According to NFL.com, the Saints led the NFL with only 137 pressures and had an average of 0.87 yards before a defender closed within 1 yard of them during the season. The Saints led the NFL in yards per carry, as Mark Ingram had 4.9 yards per carry while Alvin Kamara had the second-best average with 6.1 yards per carry. However, the Saints only had one lineman go to the Pro Bowl, Larry Warford (and that wasn’t even by vote). Max Unger and other Saints linemen got snubbed for the Pro Bowl, but that’s not what they’re worried about now. As of right now, the 2018 Saints will be returning with five starting linemen and look to pick up where they left off last season.