The most anticipated off-season in the history of the franchise has arrived.
All eyes turn to the future of 42-year-old Tom Brady, a free agent for the first time in his career, following a 20-13 loss to the Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium on Saturday night.
Brady was picked off by former teammate Logan Ryan with 0:15 on the clock, the ball at New England's 1-yard line, as the Patriots had one last grasp at going for the win.
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Ryan returned the ball for a touchdown, meaning that if Brady does, indeed, leave as a free agent or retire, his final throw in a Patriots uniform will have been a pick-six.
Derrick Henry was the difference in the game for the Titans, gashing New England for 182 yards on 34 carries and the game-tying 1-yard touchdown run in the third quarter (Tennessee took the lead on the PAT).
Henry's monster night aside, however, the majority of the wounds for the Patriots were of the self-inflicted variety despite not committing a turnover until the game's final minute.
Everything changed when New England had first and goal from the Tennessee 1-yard line with 4:29 to go in the first half but failed to come away with more than a Nick Folk field goal.
Sony Michel lost a yard on on first down before Rex Burkhead gained it back. On third and goal from the 1, despite having the greatest quarterback sneak artist in the history of the NFL, the Patriots turned back to Michel, who once again failed to break the plane.
Still, New England led, 13-7.
But in turn, the Titans proceeded to drive 75 yards in just seven plays to take the lead for good on Henry's score and subsequent PAT.
The Patriots punted on each of their first four possessions of the second half, a frustration in its own right. One punt came after Duron Harmon picked off Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who was an abysmal 8 for 15 passing for 72 yards (a 61.0 passer rating).
It was the fourth offensive set of the second half which is truly haunting in the aftermath of the loss.
Brady hit James White for a 20-yard gain to begin the series, which began at the New England 11-yard line with 4:44 left in regulation. Brady connected with Phillip Dorsett for a 6-yard gain, setting up a very manageable second and 4, and looked poised for another big gain on a pass to Julian Edelman...
...before Edelman, who has more catches than any player other than Jerry Rice in playoff history, dropped the ball.
Brady's pass to Dorsett on third down fell incomplete, and New England was once again in punt formation.
The Patriots wouldn't get the ball back until there were 15 seconds left on the clock, thanks in part to Tannehill's one clutch throw of the game -- an 11-yard completion to tight end Anthony Firsker on third and 8.
New England lost just its fourth postseason home game of the Brady-Belichick era, its first since the 2012 AFC Championship Game against Baltimore. The Patriots fell to 21-5 when scoring first in the same time frame.
New England's lone touchdown was a 5-yard touchdown rush by Edelman, who has now scored three straight touchdowns for the Patriots in the wild-card round, which dates back to 2009.
In addition to Brady, Devin McCourty, Matthew Slater, Kyle Van Noy and Joe Thuney are among the other pending free agents for the Patriots.