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Instant analysis: Ravens’ season ends with gutting 17-3 loss to Bills in divisional round

Here’s what The Baltimore Sun staff had to say immediately after the Ravens’ 17-3 loss to the Buffalo Bills in the AFC divisional round on Saturday night in Orchard Park, New York:

Daniel Oyefusi, reporter: A nightmare night descended upon the Ravens at Bills Stadium on Saturday. Fierce winds turned the best kicker in the league to merely average, snapping issues resurfaced and the Ravens finished their season with their star quarterback ruled out and in concussion protocol. It’s a hard pill to swallow for the Ravens, whose season ends in the divisional-round game for the second straight year. Another long offseason awaits for the Ravens, whose first priority must be to make the adequate moves to continue to develop Lamar Jackson as a passer. If it wasn’t already obvious, watching Josh Allen, Jackson’s first-round draftmate, made it clear enough.

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Jonas Shaffer, reporter: Another postseason appearance, another loss that will raise questions about Greg Roman’s offense and Lamar Jackson’s standing among the NFL’s elite. Many of those questions will be unfair. But this Bills defense was supposed to offer little resistance against a record-breaking running offense. Instead, the Ravens’ attack struggled in unexpected ways, and even their special teams fell short. With how the defense had locked in toward the end of the season, this could be remembered as a what-could’ve-been game.

Childs Walker, reporter: This was an ugly game from the start, with the wind paralyzing both teams in a festival of missed field goals, shanked punts and wayward snaps. The Bills came in with an astute game plan against Lamar Jackson, using frequent blitzes to destroy his pocket and sitting in zone coverage so they could deny him easy escape routes. The Ravens came out with an equally effective plan against Bills quarterback Josh Allen, resisting the urge to blitz and fooling him with a variety of coverages. The Ravens had their chance to tie the game at 10 late in the third quarter, but Jackson stared so hard at tight end Mark Andrews that he never saw Bills cornerback Taron Johnson breaking on the route. Johnson’s 101-yard pick six broke the Ravens, their fate firmly sealed after Jackson’s head crashed against the ground on their next drive. So the Ravens will go into another offseason facing questions about their offense, which has worked so well in the regular season only to break down against smart defensive coaches in the playoffs. Does that mean adding some schematic spice to their passing game or adding a star receiver to pair with Marquise Brown, who’s showed up big in his three career playoff games? We’ll spend the next eight months debating what the Ravens can do to take the next step with their unique quarterback. We should not forget that this team pulled its season back onto the tracks and finally won a playoff game. But the Ravens targeted the Super Bowl from day one this season, so they won’t take much solace from these achievements, at least not for awhile.

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