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Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Finding common threads in playoff losses

By ESPNBoston.com

In a column now posted on ESPNBoston.com, Mike Reiss attempts to find common threads in each of the past seven Patriots playoff losses since 2005:

• The 2005 divisional-round playoff loss in Denver -- five Patriots turnovers. Cornerback Champ Bailey's 100-yard interception return was what we remember most.

• The 2006 AFC Championship loss in Indianapolis -- defense runs out of gas. The Patriots led 21-3 midway through the second quarter but couldn't hold on.

Super Bowl XLII loss to the Giants in the 2007 season -- losing control of the line of scrimmage/out-of-the-norm helmet catch. As former left tackle Matt Light said, the Patriots' offensive line picked the wrong time to have its worst night, but it still would have been enough if David Tyree didn't make a miraculous catch on his helmet.

• The 2009 wild-card round loss to the Ravens -- losing physical battle. Running back Ray Rice set the tone on the first play with an 83-yard touchdown run. The Patriots were never in it.

• The 2010 divisional-round loss to the Jets -- turnovers and porous defense. The Patriots were in control early until quarterback Tom Brady's interception -- and later Patrick Chung's ill-advised fake punt -- altered the tide.

Super Bowl XLVI loss to the Giants in the 2011 season -- losing the critical situations. This could have been different if Brady and receiver Wes Welker connected in the fourth quarter, or the defense rose up with a stop on the Giants' final 88-yard drive.

Sunday's loss to the Ravens in the AFC Championship -- losing the critical situations in second half. With a Super Bowl berth on the line in the final 30 minutes at home, the Patriots fizzled as the can't-be-intimidated Ravens pushed them around, knocked them out and moved the ball with relative ease.

Click HERE for the three common threads Reiss finds and give us your take by voting in the poll above and sharing your thoughts in the comments section.