November 28, 1971 -- Veteran Bills' fans are still trying to forget the 1971 team, which stumbled its way to a 1-13 record that season. Well, this is the anniversary of the lone win.
The Bills defeated the New England Patriots, 27-20, to stop any talk of a winless season. Dennis Shaw threw a couple of early touchdown passes to J.D. Hill, and O.J. Simpson scored on a 1-yard run.
For New England, Jim Plunkett was only 10 of 22 for 138 yards and a touchdown (Ron Sellers). Carl Garrett ran for 127 yards.
It was Harvey Johnson's last win as a Bills coach (he finished with two in his NFL coaching career), and here's a clue as to one of the problems that year. In that game, Simpson had 14 carries. Wayne Patrick had 17 carries. Not to put Patrick down, but which one would you have carrying the ball most of the time?
The Bills certainly earned the first draft choice with its season, and -- to show you what sort of season it was -- even that didn't work out well. Buffalo took defensive end Walt Patulski with the pick, and he never panned out. But the Bills' next coach was Lou Saban, who knew enough to give the ball to Simpson ... a lot.
--- Budd Bailey