1971 - Rock Bottom

1971 - Rock Bottom
1-13 record, Fifth of five in AFL East, Thirteenth of thirteen in AFC, 26th of 26 in NFL
Despite his lack of success, John Rauch was retained as coach of the Bills following the 1970 season.  But in July Rauch abruptly resigned following a conversation with Ralph Wilson dealing with Rauch's public criticism of two players.  For the second time in his career Harvey Johnson was pressed into service as Buffalo's interim coach.  In the 1971 draft Buffalo added two more receiving threats to the group led by Marlin Briscoe and Haven Moses when they drafted J.D. Hill in the first round and Bob Chandler in the seventh.  The Bills also added fullback Jim Braxton and tackle Donnie Green who would lead the way for O.J. Simpson later in the decade.

Only Mike Stratton, Paul Costa, Jim Dunaway, and Joe O'Donnell remained from the AFL Championship teams.  The Bills were clearly in rebuilding mode and as a result Buffalo began the season losing ten straight games.  On the season the team was shut out four times.  Only three of those losses were even within one scoreof the opponent.  The Bills did beat the newly renamed and relocated New England Patriots in week 11 capitalizing on three turnovers.  Buffalo finished last or next to last in every major category on offense and defense.  It is the only time in league history a team finished a year last in points scored and last in points allowed.  The Bills offensive line started three rookies that year and with quarterback Dennis Shaw injured for a few games the passing offense never got going.  Marlin Briscoe led the team with barely 600 yards receiving.  Running back O.J. Simpson posted a then career-high 742 rushing yards and five touchdowns.  To cap off the disaster of a season the Bills had no players selected to the Pro Bowl.  That was the first time in their history no Bills player represented Buffalo in an All-Star game.

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