1971 Buffalo Bills season

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1971 Buffalo Bills season
Head coach Harvey Johnson
Owner Ralph Wilson
Home field War Memorial Stadium
Results
Record 1–13
Division place 5th AFC East
Playoff finish did not qualify

The 1971 Buffalo Bills season was the 12th season for the club and its second in the National Football League.

For the second time in four seasons, the Bills finished with only one victory. The Bills 1–13 record (a 0.071 winning percentage) remains the worst in franchise history. The team allowed 394 points, the most in franchise history for a 14-game season.

The season began in turmoil when coach John Rauch resigned, forcing pro personnel director Harvey Johnson to assume the position for the second time on an interim basis.[1]

Buffalo lost their first ten games of the season, extending their losing streak to 15 and winless streak to 17, dating back to the previous season. They were held scoreless in four games; their minus-210 point differential is the worst in the team's history, and one of the forty worst point-differentials in NFL history.[2]

Running back O.J. Simpson would have a stellar year, despite the Bills poor team record. Simpson would rush for 742 yards on 183 attempts. However, Simpson would only score 5 touchdowns, the fewest of his career in one season. The Bills would only score 21 touchdowns as a team during the 1971 season, the fewest in franchise history.[3]

Offseason[edit]

NFL Draft[edit]

The Bills had a strong draft in 1971, selecting several players who would have long-term impact with the team.

  • Wide receiver J.D. Hill played five seasons for the Bills, making the Pro Bowl in his second season.
  • Fullback Jim Braxton was an effective blocker for star tailback O.J. Simpson for the next seven seasons.
  • Right tackle Donnie Green became a key component in the Bills' "Electric Company" offensive line for the next seven seasons.
  • Receiver Bob Chandler played with the Bills for nine seasons, making second team All-Pro in 1975 and 1977, and leading the league in receptions from '75–'77, with 176 catches.
= Pro Bowler[4]
Round Pick Player Position School/Club Team
1 4 J.D. Hill Wide Receiver Arizona State
2 29 Jan White Tight End Ohio State
3 53 Bruce Jarvis Center Washington State
3 57 Jim Braxton Fullback West Virginia
5 107 Donnie Green Offensive Tackle Purdue
5 113 Tim Beamer Defensive Back Illinois
6 145 Bill McKinley Defensive End Arizona
7 160 Bob Chandler Wide Receiver Southern California
8 183 Louis Ross Defensive End South Carolina State

[5]

Roster[edit]

1971 Buffalo Bills roster
Quarterbacks

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Special teams


Rookies in italics

Regular season[edit]

Schedule[edit]

Week Date Opponent Result Record Streak Attendance
1 Sep 19 vs. Dallas Cowboys Loss 37-49 0–1 L1 46,206
2 Sep 26 vs. Miami Dolphins Loss 14-29 0–2 L2 45,139
3 Oct 3 at Minnesota Vikings Loss 0-19 0–3 L3 47,900
4 Oct 10 vs. Baltimore Colts Loss 0-43 0–4 L4 46,206
5 Oct 17 at New York Jets Loss 17-28 0–5 L5 61,948
6 Oct 23 at San Diego Chargers Loss 3-20 0–6 L6 49,261
7 Oct 31 vs. St. Louis Cardinals Loss 23-28 0–7 L7 40,040
8 Nov 7 at Miami Dolphins Loss 0-34 0–8 L8 61,016
9 Nov 14 at New England Patriots Loss 33-38 0–9 L9 57,446
10 Nov 21 vs. New York Jets Loss 7-20 0–10 L10 41,577
11 Nov 28 vs. New England Patriots Win 27–20 1–10 W1 27,166
12 Dec 5 at Baltimore Colts Loss 0-24 1–11 L1 58,476
13 Dec 12 vs. Houston Oilers Loss 14-20 1–12 L2 28,107
14 Dec 19 at Kansas City Chiefs Loss 9-22 1–13 L3 48,121

[6]

Standings[edit]

AFC East
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
Miami Dolphins 10 3 1 .769 5–3 7–3–1 315 174 W1
Baltimore Colts 10 4 0 .714 6–2 8–3 313 140 L1
New England Patriots 6 8 0 .429 4–4 6–5 238 325 W1
New York Jets 6 8 0 .429 4–4 6–5 212 299 W2
Buffalo Bills 1 13 0 .071 1–7 1–10 184 394 L3

Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972. [7]

Game summaries[edit]

Week 1[edit]

Week 11[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Patriots 3 3 7 7 20
• Bills 0 17 0 10 27
  • Date: November 28
  • Location: War Memorial Stadium
  • Game start: 1:00 p.m. EST
  • Game attendance: 27,166
  • Game weather: 38°F; wind 12

[8]

Awards and honors[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lou Saban, who resigned as coach of the Denver Broncos after eight games in 1971, would return to Buffalo in 1972; Saban had previously guided the Bills to consecutive American Football League championships in 1964 and 1965.
  2. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com: Team Game Finder Query Results
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Players are identified as a Pro Bowler if they were selected for the Pro-Bowl at any time in their career.
  5. ^ Buffalo Bills 1971 NFL Entry Draft
  6. ^ [2], 1971 Buffalo Bills Schedule
  7. ^ NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York,NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p. 297
  8. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2015-Apr-20.