The Pittsburgh Steelers took it on the chin Saturday night, watching their season end on their home field at the hands of their archrival with their top running back in street clothes.
"We just got beat tonight," coach Mike Tomlin conceded after the game. "We didn't make enough critical plays. ... They had more splash plays."
The Steelers encountered a season-long problem in the first half, moving the ball at will only to settle for field goals as drives stalled in the red zone.
Those missed opportunities came back to haunt them later in the game, as did All-Pro running back Le'Veon Bell's absence due to a hyperextended knee.
It's an especially painful loss for a short-handed team that had reason to believe they possessed the stronger roster entering the postseason.
The front office will spend the offseason targeting upgrades for an aging secondary and a front seven that too often lacked backbone.
If general manager Kevin Colbert's next draft class bears as much fruit as the past two, Pittsburgh will be battling Baltimore for the AFC North title again in 2015.