1974 New England Patriots season

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1974 New England Patriots season
Head coach Chuck Fairbanks
General manager Chuck Fairbanks
Owner Bob Marr
Home field Schaeffer Stadium
Results
Record 7–7
Division place T-3rd AFC East
Playoff finish did not qualify
Pro Bowlers none
AP All-Pros none
Timeline
Previous season Next season
< 1973 1975 >

The New England Patriots finished the National Football League's 1974 season with a record of seven wins and seven losses, and finished tied for third in the AFC East division.

Staff[edit]

New England Patriots 1974 staff
Front Office

Head Coaches

Offensive Coaches

 

Defensive Coaches

Special Teams Coaches

Regular season[edit]

The Patriots posted their first non-losing season since 1966, finishing 7–7. They erupted to a 5–0 start before losing seven of their last nine games due to injuries and rising strength of opponents as the season went on. A league-wide player strike during training camp and preseason allowed a large number of new players to make the squad, as coach Chuck Fairbanks was installing a new offensive system.

Schedule[edit]

Week Date Opponent Result Stadium Record Attendance
1 September 15 Miami Dolphins W 34–24 Schaefer Stadium 1–0
55,006
2 September 22 at New York Giants W 28–20 Yale Bowl 2–0
44,082
3 September 29 Los Angeles Rams W 20–14 Schaefer Stadium 3–0
61,279
4 October 6 Baltimore Colts W 42–3 Schaefer Stadium 4–0
59,502
5 October 13 at New York Jets W 24–0 Shea Stadium 5–0
57,825
6 October 20 at Buffalo Bills L 28–30 Rich Stadium 5–1
78,935
7 October 27 at Minnesota Vikings W 17–14 Metropolitan Stadium 6–1
48,177
8 November 3 Buffalo Bills L 28–29 Schaefer Stadium 6–2
61,279
9 November 10 Cleveland Browns L 14–21 Schaefer Stadium 6–3
61,279
10 November 17 New York Jets L 16–21 Schaefer Stadium 6–4
57,115
11 November 24 at Baltimore Colts W 27–17 Memorial Stadium 7–4
34,782
12 December 1 at Oakland Raiders L 26–41 Oakland Coliseum 7–5
50,120
13 December 8 Pittsburgh Steelers L 17–21 Schaefer Stadium 7–6
52,107
14 December 15 at Miami Dolphins L 27–34 Miami Orange Bowl 7–7
56,920

Standings[edit]

AFC East
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA
Miami Dolphins 11 3 0 .786 6–2 9–2 327 216
Buffalo Bills 9 5 0 .643 5–3 7–4 264 244
New England Patriots 7 7 0 .500 4–4 4–7 348 289
New York Jets 7 7 0 .500 4–4 5–6 279 300
Baltimore Colts 2 12 0 .143 1–7 1–10 190 329

Notable games[edit]

The Patriots ended a four-game losing streak to Miami, erupting to a 31–10 third quarter lead and cruising home 34–24. Mack Herron opened the season for the Patriots with a fourteen-yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter, while Jim Plunkett had a touchdown throw to Reggie Rucker and a five-yard rushing score to go with Sam Cunningham's 13-yard rushing score.

The Patriots traveled to New Haven, CT to face the Giants. Norm Snead of the Giants opened the scoring with a 21-yard touchdown to Ron A. Johnson; the Patriots answered with a 12-yarder from Jim Plunkett to Mack Herron, both scores coming in the first quarter. In the second Joe Dawkins of the Giants punched the ball in from one yard out, and the Patriots tied the game as Plunkett found Randy Vataha from 38 yards out. New England then took over as Sam Cunningham caught a 14-yard Plunkett pass and Herron later ran in a four-yard score. Johnson caught another touchdown from Snead in the fourth quarter but the PAT was stopped and the Patriots ended the game 28–20 winners.

The Bills ended the Patriots' five-game winning streak 30–28. O.J. Simpson had one rushing touchdown and a catch from Joe Ferguson, who also completed touchdown throws to Paul Seymour. Sam Cunningham had three rushing scores and Jim Plunkett fired a 12-yard touchdown bullet to Reggie Rucker with nine seconds left. The Bills recovered the ensuing onside kick to preserve the win.

With both teams entering the game at 5–1, turnovers plagued the day at Metropolitan Stadium. Jim Plunkett was picked off twice and the Patriots fumbled twice, while Fran Tarkenton had three picks. The Patriots also had nine penalties eating up 122 yards as the Vikings erased an early 10–0 New England lead and led 14–10 in the final minute; Tarkenton ran in a late touchdown, then threw the ball into the face of Ron Bolton; a brief brawl ensued and both Bolton and Tarkenton were ejected.[1] But Jim Plunkett drove the Pats down field and fired a ten-yard game-winning touchdown to Bob Windsor on the final play; Windsor had to break numerous tackles to reach the endzone and was injured for the season as a result.

The Patriots and Bills squared off in another hard-fought affair as Joe Ferguson threw for 247 yards and a touchdown to Ahmad Rashad while O.J. Simpson was held in check until late in the first half with a touchdown. Jim Plunkett threw two touchdowns to Mack Herron and Sam Cunningham rushed in another score for a 21–19 Patriots haltime lead, but the Bills struck first in the third quarter when Dave Washington picked off Plunket and ran back 72 yards for the score. Another Mack Herron score and John Leypoldt's third field goal of the day left the score 29–28 in the final minute when the Patriots drove down field for a field goal, but the kick was blocked by Jeff Yeates of the Bills, preserving the win.

Roster[edit]

All of the following players appeared in at least one game for the 1974 New England Patriots.

Name Position Notes
Jim Plunkett Quarterback
Randy Vataha Wide receiver
Darryl Stingley Wide receiver Lost for the season after just five games
Bob Windsor Tight end Suffered season-ending knee injury in win over Vikings
John Hannah Offensive guard (left side)
Leon Gray Offensive tackle (left side)
Sam Cunningham Running back Rushed for 811 yards and nine touchdowns

References[edit]