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1971 Buffalo Bills season


1971 Buffalo Bills season

1971 Buffalo Bills season
Head coach Harvey Johnson
Home field War Memorial Stadium
Record 1-13
Division place 5th AFC East
Playoff finish did not qualify
Previous season      Next season
< 1970      1972 >

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. 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]


NFL Draft

Main article: 1971 NFL Draft

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 [3]
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


Regular season


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



AFC East
Miami Dolphins 10 3 1 .769 315 174
Baltimore Colts 10 4 0 .714 313 140
New England Patriots 6 8 0 .429 238 325
New York Jets 6 8 0 .429 212 299
Buffalo Bills 1 13 0 .071 184 394

Game summaries

Week 1: Dallas Cowboys

1 2 34Total
Cowboys 7 21 71449
Bills 14 10 6737

at War Memorial Stadium, Buffalo, New York

  • Date: September 19
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m.
  • Game weather: 55°F, wind 9 mph
  • Box Score


Awards and honors


  • Bills on Pro Football Reference
  • Bills on
  • Bills Stats on
  • [2]

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