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Sunday, January 10, 2010
First impressions: Ravens 33, Patriots 14

By Mike Reiss

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -– Recapping the Patriots’ 33-14 loss to the Ravens in the wild-card round of the playoffs, which snapped the team's 11-game home playoff winning streak:

How the game was won: The Ravens took it to the Patriots early, with running back Ray Rice scoring on an 83-yard touchdown run up the middle on the first offensive play.

Turning point, Part I: Rice’s big run 17 seconds into the game.

Turning point, Part II: Trailing 24-7 with 9:14 to play in the second quarter, the Patriots had a chance to generate momentum after Tully Banta-Cain’s interception at the New England 36-yard line. However, the offense went three-and-out.

Stat of the game: In falling behind 24-7 at the half, the Patriots had totaled 61 yards of total offense.

Unsung Patriots heroes: Julian Edelman & Kevin Faulk. Edelman had two touchdown receptions and a 28-yard punt return. Faulk produced in the running and passing games.

Important storyline not to be overlooked: Tom Brady’s struggles. His mechanics breaking down at times in the face of pressure, Brady threw three interceptions and lost a strip sack that was turned into a touchdown. Turnovers hurt the Patriots badly.

What it means: The Patriots’ season is over. The team’s home playoff winning streak is snapped at 11. The offseason team-building process gets an early start, and based on the disappointing end to the season and other struggles along the way there is plenty of work to do. In the event of an uncapped year in 2010, the Patriots will not be restricted in their ability to sign free agents as the final eight teams in the playoffs will.