The Giants in 1971 entered the season with high hopes after a surprising season in 1970 when they just fell short of the playoffs. After a solid 2-1 start to the season, they quickly fell apart with losses in 9 of their last 11 games in 1971. With a defense that was horrible and injuries to star running back Ron Johnson the team struggled on both offense and defense.
September 19, 1971 Lambeau Field Green Bay WI New York Giants 42 Green Bay Packers 40: In a wild season opener in which the Giants led 42-24 going into the fourth quarter the Giants but they had to withstand a final Packers rally for the narrow victory. An interception by the Giants Jim Files of a Scott Hunter pass allowed the Giants to hold on for the victory. With 7:02 left in the game the Packers Doug Hart intercepted a Fran Tarkenton pass as he ran out of bounds he crashed into Packers rookie head coach Dan Devine breaking his leg.
Tarkenton threw three touchdown passes of six, 39, and 81 to wide receiver Rich Houston in the game. In the third quarter Tarkenton also threw a touchdown pass to Tucker Fredrickson for 20 yards to give the Giants a 42-24 going into the fourth quarter. The Giants Ralph Heck recovered a Dave Hampton fumble of a kickoff in the end zone as part of a 28 point second quarter for the Giants. Hampton fumbled again on a handoff in the end zone this time the Giants Joe Green recovered for the Giants for another score.
The Packers took the early lead in the game when Ken Ellis returned a short field goal atttempt by the Giants Pete Gogolak for a100-yard score. Late in the second quarter Zeke Bratkowski hit Hampton for a 19-yard scoring pass to make it it 28-14 at halftime. In the second half Lou Michaels of the Packers kicked a 28-yard field goal making the score 28-17. Scott Hunter came into the game in the second half and led the Packers to a touchdown culminating when he hit tight end Rich McGeorge on a 20-yard scoring pass making the score 35-24. In the fourth quarter Donny Anderson ran in for a score as he scored on a 19-yard run. Hunter hit Carroll Dale on a 18-yard scoring pass. This was setup after a Doug Hart interception of a Tarkenton pass. Hart would finish the scoring when he tackled Giants punter Tom Blanchard in the end zone for a safety latein the fourth quarter.
October 3, 1971 Busch Memorial Stadium St. Louis, MO New York Giants 21 St. Louis Cardinals 20: The Giants jumped out to an early 21-3 lead against their division rivals by the second quarter before holding on for a narrow one point victory. A fumble by the Cardinals MacArthur Lane late in the fourth quarter recovered by the Giants WIllie WIlliams helped preserve the victory,
The Giants gor their lead when Rocky Thompson ran back a Cardinals kickoff 93 yards after the Cardinals Jim Bakken had hit a 14-yard field goal in the first qaurter. Later in the quarter Giants quarterback Fran Tarkenton hit tight end Bob Tucker on a ten-yard scoring pass for a 14-3 lead after one quarter. In the second quarter Tarkenton scored from the two following a Tucker Fredrickson block. The Giants had chances in the second quarter for more points but Rich Houston dropped a Tarkenton pass on a potential 43-yard scoring pass. Giants place kicker Pete Gogolak missed two 42-yard field goals in the second quarter.
On the final play of the second quarter Cardinals quarterback Pete Beatherd hit Mel Gray on a 64-yard scoring pass after WIlliams fell down covering him. In the third quater Beatherd hit Gray again on a long scoring pass this time from 60 yards away. In the fourth quarter facing a fourth-and-one from the Giants 15 the Cardinals elected to gor for a Bakken 22-yard fied goal cutting the deficit to one. However four turnovers did them in in this loss as both teams would face disappointing seasons.
After a promising 2-1 start the Giants would soon fall by the wayside in tough NFC East going on a four game losing streak that would essentially end their season in 1971,
10/04/1971 Giants Turn Back Cards by Leonard Koppett New York Times
1971 New York Giants John Schaefer