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Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Photos: The other side of the NFL playoffs

By The Agony of Defeat

It's an aspiration for some, an expectation for others, but in no way a guarantee of joy: making the NFL playoffs.

Because, as we've seen these last three weeks -- and as we'll see on one side in two more weeks -- the pain of losing is even more pronounced when the postseason comes around. It stings. And it shows.

So with 10 of the season's 11 elimination games finished and only the Super Bowl to be contested, Playbook and the aptly named Tumblr "The Agony of Defeat" now bring you a collection of dramatic photos showing the pain of playoff losses.

Check them out:

Wild-Card Round

Baltimore Ravens 24, Indianapolis Colts 9
Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts against the Baltimore Ravens
It's hard to fault rookie QB Andrew Luck and the Colts for losing early, but it still stung for a team that overcame so much -- including coach Chuck Pagano's inspirational fight with leukemia.

Houston Texans 19, Cincinnati Bengals 13
Brian Leonard of the Cincinnati Bengals against the Houston Texans
For the second straight year, Brian Leonard and the Bengals' season ended at the hands of Houston.

Green Bay Packers 24, Minnesota Vikings 10
Marvin Mitchell of the Minnesota Vikings against the Green Bay Packers
Minnesota's mad rush to make the playoffs ended quickly for Marvin Mitchell and the Vikings, who couldn't overcome their rivals at Lambeau Field.

Seattle Seahawks 24, Washington Redskins 14
Robert Griffin III against the Seattle Seahawks
It wasn't just a loss for Washington. For Robert Griffin III, it was a game that exacerbated a lingering knee injury -- one that puts his status for the start of 2013 in jeopardy.

Divisional Round

Baltimore Ravens 38, Denver Broncos 35 (2 OT)
Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos against the Baltimore Ravens
Peyton Manning's playoff struggles continued, as the first-year Broncos QB couldn't cash in on a 13-3 regular-season record, throwing two picks (one in OT) and falling to 9-11 all-time in the postseason.

San Francisco 49ers 45, Green Bay Packers 31
Clay Matthews and the Green Bay Packers against the San Francisco 49ers
Again Clay Matthews and the Packers' season ended in this round, although this year on the road.

Atlanta Falcons 30, Seattle Seahawks 28
The Seattle Seahawks against the Atlanta Falcons
The Seahawks' pain came not just from losing, but how they lost -- after turning a 27-7 deficit into a 28-27 lead with just 31 seconds left, Seattle allowed Atlanta to drive for the game-winning field goal.

New England Patriots 41, Houston Texans 28
Arian Foster of the Houston Texans against the New England Patriots
Arian Foster's fantastic season -- one that started so promisingly for the Houston Texans -- ended on the road for the second straight year in the divisional round.

Conference Championship Round

Baltimore Ravens 28, New England Patriots 13
Tom Brady of the New England Patriots against the Baltimore Ravens
He started his playoff career 10-0 and with three Super Bowl titles. But now, after his team let go of a 13-7 halftime lead, Tom Brady is just 7-7 since -- with no championships.

San Francisco 49ers 28, Atlanta Falcons 24
Tony Gonzalez of the Atlanta Falcons against the San Francisco 49ers
The season ended for the Atlanta Falcons, who blew a 17-0 first-half lead. But the loss might mean more: For future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez, his career most likely is over.

To see more photos like this, visit The Agony of Defeat on Tumblr.