Patriots' mystique is shattered

Rout by Ravens should shake Belichick's team to its foundation

Updated: January 27, 2010, 10:58 PM ET
By Howard Bryant | ESPN.com

As an epitaph, the sight of Baltimore Ravens players waving goodbye to a disappointed-turned-resigned Patriots fan base skulking en masse toward the cold exits was appropriate for an afternoon that in many ways closed the chapter of the most successful period of professional football the New England region has ever known.

This was the season in which fear finally turned to reality. The fear that the New England Patriots were no longer invincible, or even elite, grew clear over the weeks ...

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