Five quick takes on the final day of the 2018 NFL regular season:
1. The biggest winner was Lamar Jackson, the fifth rookie quarterback selected on the first round last year and the only one to make the playoffs. He took advantage of his opportunity when Joe Flacco was injured as he went 6-1 and beat Cleveland Browns in finale to clinch the division title for the Baltimore Ravens. He is now the team’s quarterback of the future.
2. The second-biggest winner was Nick Foles, who led the Philadelphia Eagles to a win over the Washington Redskins and, combined with the Minnesota Vikings’ loss to the Chicago Bears, gave them a playoff berth. Although Foles was knocked out late with a chest injury, he says he is good to go for the playoffs. He will now try to win a second consecutive Super Bowl as a backup, which has never been done before. The odds are against him, but his attempt to do it will be one of the best story lines of the playoffs.
3. The biggest loser was Kirk Cousins. The Vikings paid him $84 million in a three-year deal to take them to the next level, but he couldn’t beat the Bears with a playoff berth on the line. And giving a wide receiver route-running instructions wasn’t a good look.
4. The second-biggest loser was the Pittsburgh Steelers, who failed to make the playoffs when the Ravens beat the Cleveland Browns. And the team goes into the offseason dealing with all the Antonio Brown drama. It’s obvious coach Mike Tomlin needs to tighten things up.
5. The Indianapolis Colts got a break when Marcus Mariota was injured and couldn’t play for the Tennessee Titans in the season finale against the Colts with a playoff berth on the line. There was no way they were going to lose to backup Blaine Gabbert, and they didn’t. Considering Mariota’s injury situation, the Titans need to find a better backup.