FOXBOROUGH — Ray Lewis’s ride will continue, while the Patriots’ season ended Sunday night when the Baltimore Ravens won the AFC Championship game, 28-13, at Gillette Stadium.
The Ravens avenged a loss to the Patriots in the AFC title game last season.
Lewis, the 17-year veteran linebacker, announced in December his career would end when the Ravens’ season did. After a wild-card win against the Colts, a two-overtime thriller in Denver, and now the upset of New England, Lewis and Baltimore are headed to the Super Bowl.
He and the Ravens made no secret of the fact they wanted to play the Patriots again, that they wanted to return to Foxborough and change their fortunes.
It was the first time the Patriots lost a conference championship game at home, the first time they watched an opponent celebrate a trip to the Super Bowl on their home field.
There was little noise in the Patriots’ locker room after the loss that wasn’t coming from the assembled media. Players dressed quietly, shaking hands or hugging on their way out the door. They have to be at Gillette Stadium Monday for exit physicals and to clean out their lockers, but everyone knows the team that played Sunday night won’t be the team that assembles in July when training camp starts again.
“It always comes to a screeching halt. That’s just the way it is,” quarterback Tom Brady said. “Only two teams advance and those two teams deserve it. We’ve lost before. It takes a while to get over.”