the GM who stands pat is falling for the delusion of his own happiness

Here’s to Bartolo Colon, the strangest but truest offensive force in all the land. Who out there would have wagered that he’d hit a home run this year before Jason Heyward, Justin Turner, Russell Martin, Nick Markakis or his own catcher, Travis d’Arnaud? But it happened.

Hank Aaron hit his last home run — No. 755 — when he was 42 years, 166 days old. Bartolo hit his FIRST home run when he was 42 years, 349 days old. Nobody in history had ever waited until they had logged that many years on earth to hit their first home run. But this guy was pretty much the perfect candidate for that feat, right?

There’s an evolutionary reason for this: Our brains’ job is not to be happy but to make progress. But when we are happy — as, for three months at least, World Series winners are — we simply enjoy; we remain sated.

From this perspective, the GM who stands pat is falling for the delusion of his own happiness; he’s expecting the happiness of that World Series to last forever, when in fact it never will. This, clearly, is what Epstein feared back in 2004. When The Boston Globe named Epstein its Bostonian of the year, it also considered whether the man who assembled the “lovable, series-grabbing squad” would next dismantle it. Epstein rejected the happiness delusion: “There’s no room for sentiment,” he said.

Then again, from another perspective, the GM that embraces his championship squad has jumped off the treadmill, just like Stu. He has recognized that the World Series is only one measure of success, and by bringing the team back intact, the club’s fans get to continue to feel the glowing significance of what they accomplished together.

“You could tell it was his first home run,” quipped Jimmy Fallon, while bringing this up on an episode of “The Tonight Show,” “because at each base, he stopped and asked for directions to the next one.”

Cleveland running back Isaiah Crowell accounted for both of his team’s touchdowns with runs of 4 and 8 yards

Brady will have a chance to add on to those numbers next week on the road at Miami, a game that still has meaning for the Patriots in terms of earning the AFC’s No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Quarterbacks Matt Ryan (Atlanta), Derek Carr (Oakland), Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay), Dak Prescott (Dallas) and Matthew Stafford (Detroit), as well as running back Ezekiel Elliott (Dallas), have been in the discussion in recent weeks.

One factor that some believe works against Brady is that he missed the first four games of the season, when the Patriots still went 3-1. Add in the possibility that he doesn’t play in the season finale, and is an 11-game sample size enough to award a player MVP?

The Browns hung on against the Chargers, blocking a potential game-tying field goal with 4:49 left and keeping Philip Rivers and the Chargers from scoring once they took over at their own 22 with 1:46 left — thanks to Josh Lambo missing a 45-yard try with the clock running to the final second of the game.

The win ends weeks of embarrassment, as loss after loss took a toll on players and coaches alike. But coach Hue Jackson stood by his players, insisting they had not quit. ?They rewarded their coach in the 16th week of the season with his first win in Cleveland.

San Diego struggled to contain quarterback Robert Griffin III, who had an efficient game for Cleveland. Griffin finished 17-of-25 for 164 passing yards, but more importantly kept the chains moving with 42 rushing yards. Griffin had to leave in the fourth quarter after suffering a concussion.

Cleveland running back Isaiah Crowell accounted for both of his team’s touchdowns with runs of 4 and 8 yards.

Rivers continued to struggle, throwing his 19th interception on the season, the most in the NFL and one shy of matching his career high (20 in 2011). Rivers has 24 turnovers on the season — more than 25 teams.

The Chargers did have a few highlights. Rivers topped 4,000 passing yards in a season for the eighth time, tying Tom Brady for third most in NFL history.

Antonio Gates caught a 1-yard pass for a touchdown, putting him within one of tying Tony Gonzalez’s record for touchdowns for tight ends of 111.

Rookie Joey Bosa had two sacks for the third time this season and now has at least a half of a sack in five straight games. Bosa leads the Chargers with 9.5 sacks on the year and is three sacks away from Leslie O’Neal’s franchise record for rookies (12.5) set in 1986.

Texans don’t know what the heck they’re doing with quarterbacks

After yet another rough outing against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, the Houston Texans finally benched quarterback Brock Osweiler in favor of backup Tom Savage. Osweiler finished the day only completing 6 of 11 attempted passes for 48 yards and two interceptions before Bill O’Brien made the switch in the second quarter.

Osweiler is under contract with the Houston Texans for the next two games, and the following three seasons. That commitment came with a $72 million contract, with a whopping $37 million guaranteed. It’s not panning out for Houston, and Osweiler is just the latest example of the Texans and Bill O’Brien not being able to figure out the quarterback position.

The hope was that Osweiler would bring stability at quarterback after Houston has essentially had a revolving door at the position for the past few seasons. In 2015, the Texans started a combination of Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett, T.J. Yates, and Brandon Weeden. The 2014 season — O’Brien’s first season as head coach — featured a combination of Ryan Fitzpatrick, Mallett, and Case Keenum.

Saying Dak had a Russell Wilson game is by no means an insult. The kid makes great decisions. Dallas is actually doing a smart football thing (which is still unfathomable to me) by bringing him along at this pace where the game plan leans on the run and doesn’t ask Dak to make a bunch of 30 yard throws.

I do have my doubts about how this will hold up in the playoffs however. The slate of possible NFC playoff quarterbacks is Rodgers, Stafford, Eli, Ryan and Cousins. Granted all of these guys except Rodgers are dorks who are probably into Dungeons and Dragons and annoy everyone by talking like Yoda for weeks on end. But: they can all put up 350 yards and three touchdowns on any given Sunday (cliché! I know!).

Dallas’ game plan of controlling the clock and running the ball is extremely effective. I’m just not sure how effective it will be if Dallas goes down 14 and needs Dak to air that shit out. I’m very much looking forward to the players of whatever team eliminates Dallas doing Zeke’s eating celebration on the Cowboys’ field.

Get the meme machines ready. It’s going to be a hoot.

Until next week, internet friends.

Minnesota players announce end of boycott

The University of Minnesota football team has ended a boycott of football activities that threatened its participation in the Holiday Bowl.

Combined with Le’Veon Bell’s resurgence and Ezekiel Elliott’s emergence, we may very well be in the next Golden Age of running backs. That is something in itself worth rooting for.

Petty exited New York’s 34-13 loss with a chest injury after he was sandwiched by Dolphins defensive ends Cameron Wake and Ndamukong Suh on a hit early in the fourth quarter. The Jets quarterback went to the locker room soon after and did not return. Todd Bowles said the quarterback will undergo more tests on Sunday. The tests will include a CT scan to see if he has an injured lung, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.

“I’ll be good,” Petty told reporters after the game. “A little sore right now. I’ll be fine.”

Petty was replaced by former starter Ryan Fitzpatrick. Saturday night’s test was Petty’s third start of his career and his second since being pronounced the starter over Fitzpatrick by Bowles.

Before his exit, Petty was 20-for-36 for 235 yards, one TD, two picks and a fumble.

Derek Carr is expected to have his full allotment of weapons available against the Chargers.

While Pumphrey’s career totals include bowl production, Dayne’s do not, because NCAA statistics didn’t recognize bowl games for purposes of season statistics until 2002. Dayne played at Wisconsin from 1996-1999, and the Badgers played in a bowl following all four of his seasons. Counting bowl appearances, Dayne rushed for 7,125 yards at UW. Dayne, the former eight-year NFL veteran, congratulated Pumphrey via Twitter, but made a hashtag of his bowl-included yardage total:

Pumphrey had a stellar senior year, rushing for 100-plus yards in 11 games, including four of more than 200. He finished the season with an SDSU record 2,133 yards in the most prolific year of his career.

The senior is small by NFL standards (5-feet-9, 180 pounds) but in his only game against a Power Five conference opponent this year, he exploded for 281 yards against Cal with three touchdowns. NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks evaluated Pumphrey’s performance against Cal, and believes an NFL club could target him in the 2017 NFL Draft as a “borderline Day 2 selection.”