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The Carolina Panthers were oh so close to history. With a 14–0 start, they’d equaled the regular season record of the 1972 Miami Dolphins, who went on to win the Super Bowl and complete the only undefeated season in NFL history. But the Panthers had their eyes on bigger goals. They wanted to match the New England Patriots, who finished the 2007 regular season undefeated at 16–0. And most importantly, they wanted to win the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl remains in play, but hopes of an undefeated season went out the window on Sunday with a 20–13 upset loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was ineffective, throwing for just 142 yards. And the typically strong Panthers defense allowed Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones to dominate, including a 70-yard touchdown grab that put Atlanta on top for good in the third quarter. So while the ’72 Dolphins are safe for another year, the Panthers still have the NFL’s best record, and can clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win next week. They remain a top contender to win it all in February.

Read more about the Panthers’ first loss of the season.

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