1971 Los Angeles Rams season
The 1971 Los Angeles Rams season was the team's 34th year with the National Football League and the 26th season in Los Angeles. The team looked to improve on its 9–4–1 record from 1970, but finished one game below their goal, as they finished 8–5–1 and finished 2nd in the NFC West, behind the San Francisco 49ers (9–5).
|1971 Los Angeles Rams season|
|Head coach||Tommy Prothro|
|Owner||estate of Dan Reeves|
|Home field||Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum|
|Division place||2nd NFC West|
|Playoff finish||did not qualify|
The Rams started out strong at 4–1–1, but split their final eight games. Despite sweeping the 49ers on the season, a crucial tie against the Atlanta Falcons in week 2 proved to doom the Rams, because had they beaten Atlanta, they would've clinched the NFC West by virtue of their sweep over the 49ers.
|= Pro Bowler|
|1||20||Jack Youngblood||Defensive End||Florida|
|3||63||Dave Elmendorf||Strong Safety||Texas A&M|
|4||101||Steve Worster||Running back||Texas|
|1971 Los Angeles Rams roster|
This section may need to be rewritten to comply with Wikipedia's quality standards. (April 2019)
As they had in 1970, the Rams and 49ers staged a season long battle for the NFC West title that came down to the season's final game. The Rams season got off to a rocky and controversial start in New Orleans against the Saints and their rookie quarterback Archie Manning. The Saints trailed 20–17 in the final seconds and faced 4th and goal from the Rams' 1-yard line. Instead of settling for a tie (there was no overtime for regular season games in the NFL in 1971), the Saints gambled and went for the win. Manning ran a quarterback sneak in which the officials signaled touchdown, although television replays showed that Manning was stopped short of the goal line. So instead of a 20–17 win, the Rams lost 24–20. In week 2 the Rams needed a last second field goal to tie the Atlanta Falcons, 20–20.
The Rams appeared to right their ship by winning their next four games, including a 20–13 win in San Francisco. But back-to-back losses to the Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Colts left the 4–3–1 Rams 1 1⁄2 games behind the 6–2 49ers. Then the Rams won 2 straight, including a 17–6 win in San Francisco; that gave the Rams a 1⁄2-game lead in the division and they held the tiebreaker over the 49ers by virtue of their season sweep of S.F. The Rams then lost a Thanksgiving game in Dallas 28–21, but re-took the division lead with two games to play by beating the Saints 45–28. However, just as they had the year before, the Rams lost a Monday night game at home, this time to the Redskins, coached by former Rams head coach George Allen, 38–24. And just like the previous season's Monday night home loss to the Lions, this one ended up costing the Rams both the division title and the wild card berth (won by the Redskins). The Rams won their final game in Pittsburgh 23–14, but learned on their flight home that the 49ers rallied beat the Lions with a 4th-quarter touchdown, 31–27.
|1||September 19||at New Orleans Saints||L 24–20||0–1–0||70,915|
|2||September 26||Atlanta Falcons||T 20–20||0–1–1||57,895|
|3||October 3||Chicago Bears||W 17–3||1–1–1||66,957|
|4||October 10||at San Francisco 49ers||W 20–13||2–1–1||44,000|
|5||October 17||at Atlanta Falcons||W 24–16||3–1–1||58,850|
|6||October 24||Green Bay Packers||W 30–13||4–1–1||75,351|
|7||October 31||Miami Dolphins||L 20–14||4–2–1||72,903|
|8||November 8||at Baltimore Colts||L 24–17||4–3–1||57,722|
|9||November 14||at Detroit Lions||W 21–13||5–3–1||54,418|
|10||November 21||San Francisco 49ers||W 17–6||6–3–1||80,050|
|11||November 25||at Dallas Cowboys||L 28–21||6–4–1||66,595|
|12||December 5||New Orleans Saints||W 45–28||7–4–1||73,610|
|13||December 13||Washington Redskins||L 38–24||7–5–1||80,402|
|14||December 19||at Pittsburgh Steelers||W 23–14||8–5–1||45,233|
|San Francisco 49ers||9||5||0||.643||2–4||7–4||300||216||W2|
|Los Angeles Rams||8||5||1||.615||4–1–1||7–3–1||313||260||W1|
|New Orleans Saints||4||8||2||.333||2–4||4–7||266||347||L3|
Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.
- "Reeves dies; NFL pioneer". Milwaukee Journal. April 16, 1971. p. 15, part 2.