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Instant analysis of the Ravens' 35-31 loss to the Patriots

Aaron Wilson, reporter: In a heart-breaking 35-31 loss Saturday night after squandering a pair of two-touchdown leads, the Ravens' playoff run ended at Gillette Stadium following a late interception thrown by Joe Flacco in the end zone. It was a case of Flacco, after a red-hot start, being outdueled by Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Brady delivered a masterful performance with 367 yards, three touchdowns and one interception while Flacco threw four touchdowns and two interceptions. Following a tumultuous offseason and losing 19 players to injured reserve, the Ravens pushed the Patriots to the brink and came up short against one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. The difference was an injury-riddled Ravens secondary that had few answers for Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski. Gronkowski largely did what he wanted, when he wanted as he caught seven passes for 108 yards and a touchdown.

Jon Meoli, reporter: That set up for the Ravens about as well as it possibly could have. The Patriots had a ton of trouble stopping the Ravens, and the Ravens got stops early, but it was all moot. All year, the Ravens' secondary was their greatest, and really only, weakness. It was hidden for a month, but those limitations were too much against one of the best quarterbacks to ever wear the jersey, Tom Brady. The Ravens' season ends with them among the top five or six teams in the league, which seems very appropriate.

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Childs Walker, reporter: First off, what a tremendous game. If you're a sports fan, I hope you enjoyed every second of that drama without bitterness. In the end, Tom Brady went strength for strength with the Ravens and won. His exceptional short passing was better than their exceptional front seven. For most of the way, it looked like Joe Flacco would outduel him. But Flacco's playoff perfection finally came to a halt with that ill-advised interception. Nobody avoids such moments forever. This team went deeper than anyone might have guessed a month ago, and they played to a worthy end.

Peter Schmuck, columnist: Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense was plenty good enough on any other day, but the defense could not slow down the quick-release attack of Tom Brady. Nothing to be ashamed of, but it still has to hurt to have two 14-point leads and end up going home empty handed. Great game.

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Ron Fritz, sports editor: What a game. The Ravens are going to be hard on themselves after blowing two 14-point leads, but they were playing the No. 1 seed on the road. I hope people will stop with the Bill Belichick is a genius talk because his defense was absolutely torched by a Ravens offense that hasn't done all that much the last six weeks. The Patriots didn't sack Flacco once and he was barely touched. The Ravens ran at will. Yet the Patriots won. Look out for the Ravens next season when they have an actual secondary in place. Patchwork won't beat the Patriots.

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