When Kris Bryant made that final throw to Anthony Rizzo, some Cubs fans mostly felt relief.

When Kris Bryant made that final throw to Anthony Rizzo, some Cubs fans mostly felt relief.

IN THE DAYS after Nov. 2, we all smiled as we watched the videos of ancient Cubs fans celebrating — the man opening the 32-year-old can of beer, or 108-year-old Hazel Nilson wearing an inside-out rally cap. Were we happiest for these fans because we knew the limitless suffering they’d endured? Or because we knew that they alone won’t be so burdened by the long task of living that follows the final out?

For the Cubs, as with their fans, the challenge starts anew, and it’s worth asking what that challenge is. For Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, the goal is to win another World Series, and another, and another. But for the franchise, the goals aren’t as narrow. A team doesn’t exist to win the World Series but to make its fans happy.

A few years ago, at Baseball Prospectus, I looked at what differentiated World Series winners and losers after the series ended and found two things: World Series winners over the past 25 years have averaged five fewer wins the following season than the losers did. Perhaps relatedly, World Series winners tend to bring almost all their players back, while World Series losers continue to upgrade.

Bartolo made 65 trips to the plate this year — and struck out in 40 of them. So how amazing is it that, when he wasn’t swinging and missing, he did even more cool stuff. Like becoming the oldest man ever to draw his first walk. He did that on Aug. 15, against Arizona’s Robbie Ray. In the 281st plate appearance of his career. Barry Bonds once walked 94 times in a span of 281 plate appearances, if that gives you any idea how hard it is to walk zero times.

Hey, but that wasn’t all. On Aug. 26, Bartolo hit a double and a single in back-to-back innings. They call that a multihit game, friends. And you know it had been a while since his last multihit extravaganza, seeing as how the team he did it with the previous time (the 2002 Expos) doesn’t even exist anymore. In between those unforgettable Bartolo Colon multihit games, all the other pitchers out there got 982 multihit games. Just thought you should know that.

Hopkins said the AFC South title means even more given the ups and downs of the Texans’ season

Aaron Rodgers has completed better than 71 percent of his passes with 11 touchdowns and no picks during the Packers’ five-game win streak.

It wasn’t just that they were 4-6 and had lost four straight; it was how they looked doing it.

Or how bad they looked. They allowed 153 points in those four losses and were blown out in the final two.

The Texans’ defense, which entered the game ranked No. 1 in the NFL in yards allowed per game, allowed 294 yards, although 86 came on a touchdown pass from Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton to wide receiver Brandon LaFell early in the fourth quarter. The defense allowed 15 first downs and had an interception from safety Quintin Demps in the third quarter.

Savage said he got more comfortable in the second half after seeing how well the defense was playing.

“It was just taking a deep breath and realizing what we have on defense, what they’re doing for us,” Savage said. “All week it’s just protect the ball and find a way to win, and that’s what we did. The guys really rallied around me and made some huge plays for me.”

The Texans will now go to Tennessee in Week 17 for a game that previously looked as if it would decide the AFC South title. But that title has been won. If head coach Bill O’Brien continues with Savage at quarterback, he will get another week of game reps before Houston hosts a home playoff game.

Hopkins said the AFC South title means even more given the ups and downs of the Texans’ season.

“Adversity or how you overcome it really tells about the type of team that we have,” Hopkins said. “To start the way we started going on a losing streak like we did, that goes to show how tough this team is and the young guys bought in.”

Bennett relayed an important piece of information about Pete Carroll’s closed door meetings with the team

Weeden even got his moment in the sun with Yates and Hoyer both sidelined with injuries, and started Weeks 15 and 16. Hoyer was back for the final week of the season, and the Texans moved on from him after he laid an egg in their 30-0 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.

This season, with Osweiler behind center, the Texans are in the driver’s seat in the AFC South, but the offense ranks near the bottom of the league in pretty much every relevant statistical category. Houston is ranked No. 30 out of 32 teams for passing yards per game, and the Texans are only averaging 17.9 points per game, which places them 28th in the league.

Among qualified quarterbacks, Osweiler is at or near the bottom in nearly every major category, including completion percentage (59.6), interceptions (16), yards per attempt (5.75) and QB rating (71.4). Despite Osweiler’s inadequate numbers, O’Brien said he didn’t make decisions on who to start based on a player’s paycheck. Yet, it was only a matter of time before he was forced to switch to yet another starting quarterback.

“I think it was Cliff [Avril]. Cliff had everything to do with that. Him and Frank [Clark]. They should have stopped me. Good friends stop friends from doing stuff like that.”

Bennett also relayed an important piece of information about Pete Carroll’s closed door meetings with the team. Yes, the Seahawks have in fact watched Key & Peele’s famous sketch about how many pumps constitute an excessive celebration in the NFL.

“I think two pumps get you a baby,” he told media members. “Three pumps gets you a fine.”

Irving wasn’t quite able to get to Winston that time, but he was able to force Winston into hurrying the throw, which dove into the turf several feet front of its intended target, tight end Cameron Brate.

And that, ladies and gentleman, was the last we saw of Cherilus on the night. In less than a half at defensive end, Irving had forced him from the game in shame.

Truth be told, Cherilus’ replacement, rookie undrafted free agent Leonard Wester, didn’t fare much better.

It remains to be seen if the Texans’ quarterback woes will be resolved, or at least diminished, with Savage as the starter. He has only appeared in three games in his career and will get his first start this week.

Donnel Pumphrey breaks Ron Dayne’s FBS rushing record

It took a quarter to even get started, but San Diego State running back Donnel Pumphrey broke the FBS record for career rushing yards Saturday in a 34-10 win over Houston in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Pumphrey entered the game needing 108 yards to pass former Wisconsin star Ron Dayne’s FBS career record of 6,397 yards. And after closing the first quarter with minus-1 yard on the ground, the Aztecs’ diminutive star eventually found the necessary running room for 115 yards on 19 carries to finish his career with 6,405. He broke the record early in the fourth quarter with a 15-yard run.

The boycott was announced Thursday as the team’s response to the school’s decision to suspend 10 players regarding an alleged sexual assault. No criminal charges have been filed in the case, but the players were suspended in the course of the school’s investigation into the matter. Several players met with school administrative officials Friday night, and announced the decision to end the boycott Saturday morning at the team’s football complex, per the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

A deeper dive into NFLGSIS stats shows that the Colts are tied for first in unique starting offensive lineups this year with 13. The Jets, Eagles, Vikings, Browns, Bills and Cardinals have also needed 13 different starting lineups for one reason or another. For a reference point, the Rams and 49ers have had the fewest starting lineups (8). It’s not necessarily indicative of success.

While this season has been difficult to swallow for Arians and the Cardinals, Johnson’s incredible skill set signifies a bright future on the horizon. A running back with that type of skill set is a huge draw for potential free agents and, should Arizona need to go in this direction, an invaluable asset for a rookie quarterback.

Johnson currently has 1,085 rushing yards and 11 rushing scores. He also has 69 catches for 745 yards and four touchdowns. He’s third in the NFL in rushing yards and 35th in receiving yards. For perspective: He’s essentially put up the same receiving statistics as DeSean Jackson and, in addition, is the third most productive running back in football.