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This Day in Bills History, Nov. 28: A rare win in 1971

Nov. 28, 1971 – Perhaps the members of the 1971 Bills raise a glass on this particular day each year. After all, it’s the anniversary of that team’s only win.

The Bills finally got their first victory of the season, a 27-20 decision over the New England Patriots.  Dennis Shaw threw two scoring passes to J.D. Hill, and O.J. Simpson ran over the goal line from a yard away. A 17-point second quarter proved to be decisive.

Harvey Johnson earned his last win as a Bills’ head coach that day – he finished with two. Simpson carried the ball 14 times, while Wayne Patrick ran it 17 times. Maybe that was part of the problem.

Lou Saban probably thought so. He was hired as coach after the season, and starting in 1972 he made sure that Simpson carried the ball much more frequently. And that worked out pretty well.

By the way, Charlie Gogolak had two field goals and two extra points for the Patriots. He was the younger brother of Pete Gogolak, the kicker for the Bills in the mid-1960s.

Budd Bailey is a retired sports reporter and editor at The Buffalo News. He is also the author of "Today in Buffalo Sports History." Learn more about the book here.

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