Jeff Zrebiec, reporter: The Ravens played hard but they made too many mistakes and were ultimately out-manned by a talented team that didn't need to be at its best to win. Story of the season, really. That's about all the analysis necessary from this one. Now, the tough decisions begin. Will John Harbaugh make any changes on his coaching staff? Will the Ravens be able to re-sign Kelechi Osemele? How will Joe Flacco's contract be addressed? Who will the Ravens target in the draft? It will probably be a while before those questions are answered, but the front office now starts one of the most crucial offseasons in franchise history. Injuries played a part in the team's demise this season, but as it turned out, this was a flawed team with not enough playmakers. Ozzie Newsome and company need to change that.

Mike Preston, columnist: Throughout the season the Ravens got better as a football team, especially in the last month of the season. But if you don't have playmakers and you don't have speed, you're not going to win many games against the best teams in the NFL, which is why the Ravens lost three of their last four games.

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Childs Walker, reporter: It's hard to feel too bad about this season-closing loss. After their big upset of the Steelers, the Ravens kept it close on the road against the best team in the AFC North. Ryan Mallett wasn't nearly as good as he'd been the previous week, trying to fit too many passes into impossible windows. But the defense maintained its solid late-season performance, largely bottling up noted Ravens killer A.J. Green. The Ravens can be proud they never quit on a season derailed by close losses and a remarkable run of injury misfortune. Now they can look forward to next year, when they'll presumably have the talent to go play for play with the Bengals and other AFC elites.

Alexander Pyles, Ravens editor: For a half, it seemed the Ravens might pull the double-AFC North upset to finish this woeful 2015 season, but a bad third quarter clearly showed how far behind the Bengals the Ravens really are. Without their starting quarterback, Cincinnati scored twice in that quarter (thanks in part to two mistakes by the Ravens) and the Bengals defense did the rest to grind out an ugly win. The Ravens earned their 5-11 record this season. Now the work begins to ensure that won't happen again.

Peter Schmuck, columnist: There's really no such thing as a moral victory in the NFL, but the Ravens played hard and lost a one-score game to the team that dominated the division for much of the season. The Bengals didn't have their No. 1 quarterback, but backup QB A.J. McCarron has proven in Andy Dalton's absence that he can play in this league. Ryan Mallett will need to ice his arm for a month after throwing 56 passes for 292 yards, but he probably proved to the Ravens that he should be their backup quarterback next season in spite of throwing a pair of interceptions.

Ron Fritz, sports editor: Ozzie Newsome, you're on the clock. This offseason is possibly the most-important one of your front-office career. You need to re-do quarterback Joe Flacco's contract to free up money to help you plug holes. You can't misfire on early draft picks like you have the last five years. You need to remake the defense. You need playmakers on both sides of the ball and special teams. This team played with a lot of heart, but now you need to transform it into victories.

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