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Historic collapse, you say? The Falcons avoid one with win over Panthers

The Falcons were in danger of becoming the first 5-0 team to finish under .500, but that's no longer on the table.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

A lot of things went wrong for the Atlanta Falcons this season, which you'd expect from a team that started 5-0 and ultimately wound up under .500 after 13 games. A historic collapse, thankfully, won't ultimately be one of them.

As Kendall Jackson explained earlier this month, the Falcons were in danger of becoming the first NFL team to start 5-0 and finish with a sub-.500 record. That looked like a real possibility when Atlanta was sitting at 6-7, with fans justifiably clamoring for some changes and Kyle Shanahan and Thomas Dimitroff looking like pariahs, and games against the surging Jaguars and Panthers looked like it would seal things up.

Instead, of course, Atlanta pulled off a triumphant road win in Jacksonville before this incredible 20-13 victory over a flat Carolina Panthers team. It was surely the signature win of Dan Quinn's short NFL tenure, and it was enough to propel the Falcons to their eighth win of the season, meaning there's no way they finish under .500. With a win over the Saints in the last week of the season, they can finish 9-7, where most fans tabbed them in the preseason. It's been a weird, windy road to this point, of course, but I'm glad the Falcons won't be a punchline for yet another reason in 2015.