1971 Los Angeles Rams season

1971 Los Angeles Rams season
Head coach Tommy Prothro
Home field Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Record 8–5–1
Division place 2nd NFC West
Playoff finish did not qualify

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. The Rams would finish one game below their goal, as they finished 8-5-1 and finished 2nd in the NFC West behind the San Francisco 49ers. The Rams would start out strong, as they started 4-1-1 in their first 6 games before splitting their final 8 games. Despite sweeping the 49ers on the season (the 49ers would win the NFC West at 9-5), 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.

NFL Draft

= Pro Bowler
110Isiah RobertsonLinebackerSouthern University
120Jack YoungbloodDefensive EndUniversity of Florida
363Dave ElmendorfStrong SafetyTexas A&M
4101Steve WorsterRunning backTexas


1971 Los Angeles Rams roster

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen


Defensive backs

Special teams

Rookies in italics

Regular season

As they had in 1970, the Rams and 49ers would again stage a season long battle for the NFC West title that would come 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 4 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 12 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 12-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 their former head man 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.


Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
1 September 19, 1971 at New Orleans Saints L 24–20
2 September 26, 1971 Atlanta Falcons T 20–20
3 October 3, 1971 Chicago Bears W 17–3
4 October 10, 1971 at San Francisco 49ers W 20–13
5 October 17, 1971 at Atlanta Falcons W 24–16
6 October 24, 1971 Green Bay Packers W 30–13
7 October 31, 1971 Miami Dolphins L 20–14
8 November 8, 1971 at Baltimore Colts L 24–17
9 November 14, 1971 at Detroit Lions W 21–13
10 November 21, 1971 San Francisco 49ers W 17–6
11 November 25, 1971 at Dallas Cowboys L 28–21
12 December 5, 1971 New Orleans Saints W 45–28
13 December 13, 1971 Washington Redskins L 38–24
14 December 19, 1971 at Pittsburgh Steelers W 23–14


NFC West
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
Atlanta Falcons 7 6 1 .538 3–2–1 4–6–1 274 277 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.


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