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Tom Brady, Patriots embarrass Ravens in Baltimore

The New England Patriots moved closer to a first-round bye in the playoffs with a convincing 41-7 victory in Baltimore Sunday. The final score is misleading, but the Ravens' offensive struggles have been a constant throughout this season. 

The Patriots, looking every bit like a Super Bowl contender, won their fifth straight AFC East title earlier in the day when Miami lost in Buffalo. Here's what else we learned:

1. New England's undermanned defense shouldn't be able to hold any opposing offense scoreless through three quarters. But the Ravens made a ton of mental errors, Joe Flacco missed a number of passes, and the recent progress in the running game evaporated. Flacco's knee injury could have affected his accuracy.

2. The Patriots offense didn't do much in the second half, but Tom Brady was extremely sharp before halftime. New England, so poor in the red zone all year when Rob Gronkowski is not on the field, was 3 for 3 on Sunday. The Patriots were committed to running the ball all day and racked up 154 yards on the ground. New England dominated both lines of scrimmage, which was a surprise.

3. With all that said, the final score was misleading. Baltimore had more total yards. New England was never threatened in the game, but they put up 21 points in the final 2:05 of garbage time.

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