The 2021 NFL regular season is finally over, no matter how hard the Chargers and Raiders tried to keep it alive. This week had everything, shocking upsets, bitter disappointments and one pipe-dream scenario that came within about 38 seconds of actually coming to fruition.

With the regular season firmly entrenched in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look back at some of the teams and players who impressed, or didn’t, over the course of 2021 along with some analysis of their Week 18 results. Enjoy:

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2022 Playoffs record: 26-10 (72%)
Super Bowl record: 25-10 (71%)

Overachieving Team of the Year: Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders are probably still celebrating their playoff berth after outlasting the Los Angeles Chargers in the final game of the 2021 NFL regular season. It was a game that meant everything to three different fanbases, finished with two winners, and sent the Twitterverse into a tizzy over the tantalizingly close tie.

But perhaps even more amazing than the final minutes of Sunday night’s game is just how the Raiders got to this point. Rich Bisaccia is the first interim head coach to lead a team to the postseason after he took over for Jon Gruden in Week 5 and the Raiders even went 1-5 in a six-week stretch in which they needed overtime and 166 penalty yards to beat the Cowboys for their lone victory.

Las Vegas hasn’t even won a game by more than four points since Week 7 and their six last-second wins are the most by an NFL team since the 1970 merger. The Cardiac Kids is almost too playful of a nickname for what this team has managed to do to the health of their fans in the last two months.

Their -65 point differential is the worst for a playoff team since Tim Tebow quarterbacked the 2011 Broncos to a postseason berth, but even that team finished only 8-8 and qualified due to a weak division. This is now three-straight seasons a team with a negative point differential won 10 games, but the Raiders pushed it to a new extreme, shattering the 2012 Colts record of -30.

The Raiders prize for winning the final regular season game is getting to play in the first postseason game of the season against a Bengals team that rested their star quarterback in Week 18. The Bengals dispatched the Raiders when the two teams met in the regular season thanks to 19 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.

Underachieving Team of the Year: Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens were supposed to take the next step in 2021. Even coming off a stretch of three-straight 10-win seasons, Baltimore fans were bitter and disappointed by the playoff defeats in which the offense averaged just 11 points per game. And while Lamar Jackson’s MVP certainly looked good on his mantle, the franchise desperately needed to know he could improve beyond his 68.3 passer rating in the playoffs.

Unfortunately for the Ravens, their report card is littered with incompletes after Jackson went down with an ankle injury in Week 14 and the Ravens lost their last six games, becoming the first team since the 2014 Eagles to not make the postseason after an 8-3 start. The 1995 Raiders are the only other team to go winless after an 8-3 start.

While most of the Ravens’ late-season struggles can be blamed on not having Jackson healthy, the presence of the former MVP didn’t stop Baltimore from losing the turnover battle in eight of his starts.

Jackson didn’t run for a touchdown in 11 of his 12 starts and accounted for multiple TDs in just three appearances. In fact, Jackson’s numbers have now regressed for a second-straight season with his total QBR dropping from 83.0 in his MVP season to a pedestrian 50.2 in 2021.

Just a year ago, the Ravens seemed poised to stand atop the AFC North for a decade, but with the emergence of Cincinnati and Jackson due for a $20 million bump in salary on his fifth-year option in 2022, the future in Baltimore might not be as bright as it seemed prior to the season.

Overachieving Player of the Year: Cowboys CB Trevon Diggs

It’s hard to quantify just how bizarre Trevon Diggs’s season went. He allowed the most yards by a defensive back since 2016, intercepted the most passes in the past 40 seasons, and led all cornerbacks in penalties all while not even being the most targeted cornerback on his own team.

To call Diggs’s ridiculous interception total a product of luck would be disingenuous. The second-year Alabama product has the ball skills of a former wide receiver and is the only cornerback without a dropped interception among those with at least four picks.

However, the 18.5 yards per reception he allowed was by far the most among NFL cornerbacks and history has shown great ballhawks, especially at the cornerback position, struggle to keep up their interception numbers after a big year. Xavien Howard had just four picks this season after interception 10 passes in 2020 and Darius Slay intercepted just three passes after picking off eight in 2017.

Hell, even Lester Hayes, who recorded 13 picks in 1980, never had more than four interceptions during the final six years of his career. In fact, Richard Sherman is the only cornerback to intercept at least eight passes in back-to-back seasons in the past 15 years.

Diggs has been impressive this season, but he needs to limit the big plays allowed if he’s going to remain a productive player after the interceptions dry up. He allowed a completion of at least 30 yards in 13 of his 16 starts and quarterbacks weren’t afraid to attack him, targeting him 96 times this season.

Underachieving Player of the Year: Giants RB Saquon Barkley

There are a lot of things going wrong in New York right now, and not just with the Giants, but the regression of Saquon Barkley exemplifies just how far this once-proud franchise has fallen.

Barkley, the former second-overall pick and Rookie of the Year looks like a shell of himself at the age of 24 after injuries seemingly zapped him of his super powers.

Consider this: Barkley ranked among the bottom-10 in yards per rush, yards per reception, and yards per touch this season. Even on a bad team, he struggled to put together big plays, gaining 10 yards just 22 times and over 20 yards four times this season. Compare that to his rookie season when he had nine different plays gain at least 50 yards.

Barkley’s yards per carry have dropped in each of his years in the NFL and so have his touches as he’s struggled to stay healthy, missing three games in 2019, 14 games in 2020 and four games in 2021.

Even with the Giants struggling, Barkley averaged 2.0 yards before contact per attempt, the same number as his first two seasons in the NFL. However, his yards after contact dropped a full yard per attempt and he averaged 37 touches per broken tackle this season, over four times higher than his rookie season when he broke a tackle every nine carries.

With his fifth-year option already guaranteeing his salary for next season, Barkley will have another chance to redeem his career, but for now he looks an awful lot like just another player whose once-promising career was derailed by injury.

Bad Beat of the Year: Indianapolis Colts over 9.5 wins

The Colts enjoyed a rollercoaster of a season, redeeming a 1-4 start and turning it around into a 9-6 record after a pair of impressive wins against the Patriots and Cardinals. Indianapolis had the most Pro Bowlers in the NFL and an offense built around Offensive Player of the Year candidate Jonathan Taylor.

Entering Week 17, the Colts just needed to beat the Raiders or the Jaguars, a team so down-trodden that its own fanbase wore clown costumes to the season finale.

Indianapolis was favored by 8.0 points against Las Vegas, but fell behind 10-0 and struggled to come back, eventually losing on a Daniel Carlson field goal as time expired.

Unfortunately Duvall County has become a house of horrors for the Colts, who entered Sunday on a six-game skid against the Jags on the road. But surely the Colts couldn’t squander this golden opportunity as 16.5-point favorites against the division rival.

Squander may be too generous of a word. The Colts were non-competitive, driven out of Jacksonville faster than it took Carson Wentz to commit multiple turnovers at the start of the second half. Indianapolis never led and trailed by multiple possessions for the final 33 minutes of the game.

Taylor was held to just 77 yards and was stopped twice on fourth-and-short situations. Wentz posted a career-low total QBR of 4.4 and Frank Reich was left to stand at the podium after the drubbing and wonder aloud where things had gone wrong.