Atlanta Falcons: Despite Championship Loss, 2012 Season Still a Success

Craig HortonCorrespondent IJanuary 21, 2013

Tony Gonzalez walks off the field—perhaps for the last time—after the Falcons' loss Sunday.
Tony Gonzalez walks off the field—perhaps for the last time—after the Falcons' loss Sunday.Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons' 2012 season ended yesterday with a 28-24 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game. It was a disappointing outcome especially since they had a 17-0 lead at one point.

Even though they came up short in their attempt to reach the Super Bowl, the 2012 season was one filled with good accomplishments for the Falcons.

So, instead of trying to find blame for what happened yesterday, let's remember the good the Falcons did this year.

In 2012 the Falcons . . .

Intercepted Peyton Manning three times in one quarter on Monday Night Football.

Improved from 10-6 to 13-3, and were the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

Hosted the NFC Championship Game for the first time ever.

Had the best start in their history by starting 8-0.

Beat the defending Super Bowl Champions, the New York Giants, 34-0. 

Intercepted Drew Brees five times and stopped his streak of a touchdown pass in 54 straight games.

Never gave up—The Falcons won three games in the final minute, including a playoff game.

Of their four losses, including yesterday, they had a chance to win in the final minutes.

Swept two divisions—the NFC East and AFC West.

Only lost one game by more than five points, never by more than 10.

Tony Gonzalez, Julio Jones and Roddy White all had more than 75 receptions.

Julio Jones and Roddy White had over 1,100 receiving yards.

Matt Ryan set team passing records with 4,719 yards and 32 touchdowns.

Won four primetime nationally televised games.

Won their first playoff game with Mike Smith and Matt Ryan.

Were alone in first place in the NFC South every week but Week 1.

With an 8-0 start, were never overtaken for the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

Despite the loss 2012 was a good year. The future is bright. The Falcons are among the teams that are yearly playoff contenders.

The preparations for 2013 have already started.