DETROIT, MI – JANUARY 01: Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) throws a pass during a NFC North NFL football game between Detroit and Green Bay on January 1, 2017, at Ford Field in Detroit, MI. (Photo by Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

And just like that, it’s over. The 2016 NFL regular season flared out in one blazing burst of action in Week 17. The last few pretenders fell away, and the contenders battled for bragging rights and pole position. Some of the eliminated teams gave their fans something to cheer about over the offseason, while others seemed to be getting an early start on their long spring and summer of golf.

In Cincinnati, head coach Marvin Lewis made an on-field statement to go with his released one: He isn’t going anywhere yet, and his Bengals still have enough talent to beat quality AFC North competition. The Baltimore Ravens, who came into Week 16 with a great chance to win the division, exited Week 17 with a meaningless 27-10 loss.

One of the most talented players in the game, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, showed how much he loves this stuff with his schoolyard celebration of a meaningless game-winning, come-from-behind touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars:

In another game played only for AFC South pride (of which, you know, there isn’t a lot), the Tennessee Titans proved a point by jumping out to a big lead against the Houston Texans and hanging on, 24-17. But when new Texans starter Tom Savage left the game with a concussion, former starter Brock Osweiler proved a point, too: He led a comeback that fell just short, and seemed to rally his team behind him as they head into the playoffs.

Any talk of the Dolphins repeating their seed-spoiling feat of 2015 was quickly squashed by Tom Brady and company, who left no doubt they’re the AFC’s No. 1 team with a 35-14 win. The Minnesota Vikings pasted the Chicago Bears, too, leaving no doubt that the Vikings are still good (and the Bears still aren’t).

New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick got a (teeny tiny) measure of revenge against the Buffalo Bills, who last year ended Fitzpatrick’s dream season with a three-interception nightmare. Fitzpatrick completed 20 of 30 passes for 210 yards, two scores — and no interceptions. Of course, he’s probably never going to start another NFL game, but still.

Cowboys backup quarterback Tony Romo (that still feels weird to type) finally got on the field for one drive against the Philadelphia Eagles, and it was just long enough to do this:

No more talk about “rust,” then — and no talk about how the Cowboys will be doomed in the playoffs if rookie Dak Prescott can’t go the distance.

Oh, and the Eagles won or something, I don’t know.

In Pittsburgh, we almost had the upset of the season: The Cleveland Browns, coming off their only win of the season, jumped out to a 14-0 lead against the Steelers’ JV team (seriously, backups started at every Steelers skill position). A legitimate second-half back-and-forth, highlighted by a costly goal-line fumble that turned a Browns pick-six into a Steelers touchback, resulted in an unlikely — and thoroughly unwanted — overtime period.

But even though Robert Griffin III led the Browns on a 17-play drive that got as close as 1st-and-goal on the two-yard-line, the Browns somehow had to settle for a 34-yard field goal. That opened the door for Landry Jones and company, who promptly drove for the game-winning touchdown. The Browns couldn’t manage to end their season on a two-game win streak, but did manage to secure the No. 1 overall pick in this spring’s rookie draft.

The Arizona Cardinals took out their frustrations on the Los Angeles Rams, 44-6, and the Denver Broncos took out theirs first on Raiders backup quarterback Matt McGloin, then his injury replacement Connor Cook. Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak had reportedly decided to make this his last game as a head coach due to health reasons. His players made it count, robbing the Raiders of the AFC’s No. 2 seed.

That seeding was instead clinched by Kansas City, as the Chiefs went out and beat the Chargers 37-27. Though the Chargers made it interesting for their fans in what might be the last NFL game in San Diego, the Chiefs were too much to handle.

About Ty Schalter

Ty Schalter is thrilled to be part of The Comeback. A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, Ty also works as an NFL columnist for Bleacher Report and VICE Sports, and regular host for Sirius XM’s Bleacher Report Radio. In another life, he was an IT cubicle drone with a pretentious Detroit Lions blog.