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1981 Los Angeles Rams season

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1981 Los Angeles Rams season
Head coachRay Malavasi
General managerDon Klosterman
OwnerGeorgia Frontiere
Home fieldAnaheim Stadium
Division place3rd NFC West
Playoff finishdid not qualify

The 1981 Los Angeles Rams season was the team's 44th year with the National Football League (NFL) and the 36th season in Los Angeles. The Rams looked to improve on their 11-5 record from 1980. The team failed to improve upon their 11-5 record, and finished with a mediocre 6-10 record and missed the playoffs for the first time since 1972.

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  • ✪ Los Angeles Rams vs New York Jets 1983 Week 4
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  • ✪ Los Angeles Rams vs Dallas Cowboys 1983 1st half
  • ✪ 49ers - LA Rams 1981 1st Game 3rd Quarter




NFL Draft

1981 Los Angeles Rams draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
1 9 Mel Owens  Linebacker Michigan
2 43 Jim Collins  Linebacker Syracuse
      Made roster    *   Made at least one Pro Bowl during career


Undrafted free agents

1981 Undrafted Free Agents of note
Player Position College
Jeff Kemp Quarterback Dartmouth

The Rams were touted as a possible Super Bowl contender prior to this season. However, Vince Ferragamo, who had previously led the Rams to Super Bowl XIV and set a Rams record the previous season with 30 touchdown passes, decided to bolt for the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes. Pat Haden was named the starter, but with most of the offensive weapons that Ferragamo had, notably WR's Preston Dennard and Billy Waddy. Also, the Rams would benefit from the return of running back Wendell Tyler, who had missed most of the previous season with a hip injury from an automobile accident.



1981 Los Angeles Rams staff
Front office

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches

Special teams coaches

Strength and conditioning

  • Conditioning – Clyde Evans


1981 Los Angeles Rams roster

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen


Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists

Practice squad

Rookies in italics

Regular season


Week Date Opponent Result Summary Attendance
1 September 6, 1981 Houston Oilers L 27–20 Rams rolled to a 17–6 halftime lead behind 2 Pat Haden touchdown passes, but Ken Stabler led the Oilers back in the second half with 2 touchdowns of his own. Jeff Rutledge replaced Haden in the 4th and led the Rams to a late game-tying FG. The game appeared headed for OT until Willie Tullis returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown to win it for Houston. Earl Campbell ran for 122 yards.
2 September 13, 1981 at New Orleans Saints L 23–17 Rams' pass defense held the Saints to only 4 completions and intercepted 3 passes, but George Rogers ran wild for the Saints for 162 yards and a touchdown to help New Orleans win its first game for new coach Bum Phillips.
3 September 20, 1981 Green Bay Packers W 35–23 Haden was hurt early and Rutledge passed for a touchdown. Wendell Tyler ran for 108 yards and 2 more as the Rams got their first win.
4 September 28, 1981 at Chicago Bears W 24–7 Tyler, who was hurt most of last season, ran for 2 more touchdowns and Leroy Irvin returned a punt for another touchdown on Monday night.
5 October 4, 1981 Cleveland Browns W 27–16 Rams had over 200 yards both rushing and passing. Tyler and rookie Mike Guman had rushing touchdowns and Haden passed for another.
6 October 11, 1981 at Atlanta Falcons W 37–35 In a wild contest in Atlanta, the Rams got off to an early 13–0 lead on a punt return touchdown by Irvin and 2 FG's by Frank Corral. The Falcons' offense kicked into gear and scored three second quarter touchdowns, two on passes by Steve Bartkowski and a running touchdown by William Andrews, who had 118 yards. Rutledge replaced an ineffective Haden and kept pace with Bartkowski, throwing 2 touchdown passes. Falcons led 35–27 late when Irvin returned another punt for a touchdown, and then Rutledge led the Rams to a last second FG for the win.
7 October 18, 1981 at Dallas Cowboys L 29–17 Haden was back as the starter, but Rams couldn't hold off a dominating performance by the Cowboys. Tony Dorsett ran for 159 yards and a 44-yard touchdown and Danny White passed for 277 yards and a 63-yard touchdown to Tony Hill as the Cowboys rolled to a 26–10 halftime lead and held on and stopped the Rams' 4-game win streak.
8 October 25, 1981 at San Francisco 49ers L 20–17 Against a surprising 49ers team, the Rams fell behind 14–0 early as Joe Montana tossed two early touchdowns. Rams nearly came back as Haden passed for a career-high 310 yards and a touchdown, but the 49ers held on in a battle for NFC West supremacy. It was the Rams' first loss in San Francisco since 1966 and their first-ever loss in Candlestick Park.
9 November 1, 1981 Detroit Lions W 20–13 Prior to this game, in an apparent "no-confidence" vote for Haden, the Rams signed former Oilers and Raiders QB Dan Pastorini for the remainder of the season. Haden did start this game, but was ineffective as the Rams fell behind 13–7 at the half. Rutledge took over and led the Rams to a 20–13 win, but broke the thumb on his passing hand and would be lost for the season. Tyler scored 2 touchdowns for the Rams.
10 November 8, 1981 New Orleans Saints L 21–13 Dan Pastorini started his first NFL game in a year and threw a touchdown pass and led the Rams to an early 13–0 lead. Pastorini also threw four interceptions, and George Rogers led a comeback, rushing for 162 yards and 3 touchdowns. With the win, the Saints recorded their first season sweep of the Rams.
11 November 15, 1981 at Cincinnati Bengals L 24–10 Pastorini started this game, but was largely ineffective as the Bengals rolled behind 3 touchdowns by Pete Johnson. Haden replaced Pastorini late and had a touchdown pass, but it was too little, too late.
12 November 22, 1981 San Francisco 49ers L 33–31 Rams hoped to keep their faint playoff hopes alive at home against the surging 49ers. Pastorini started and led the Rams to a 17–10 halftime lead, throwing for a touchdown. The 49ers scored 17 unanswered points after intermission as Amos Lawrence returned the second half kickoff for a touchdown, Ray Wersching kicked a FG, and Ronnie Lott returned an interception for a touchdown. Haden returned and led the Rams to two touchdowns and a 31–30 lead, but the 49ers won on a late FG by Wersching, his fourth of the game.
13 November 29, 1981 at Pittsburgh Steelers L 24–0 In a largely uninspired performance, the Rams managed only 173 yards of total offense. Terry Bradshaw ran and passed for a touchdown and Franco Harris ran for 114 yards and another touchdown.
14 December 6, 1981 at New York Giants L 10–7 Rams went back to Haden in this defensive struggle. The defense held the Giants to only 5 pass completions and 148 total yards. The winning FG was set up by a long punt return by Leon Bright. This would be Haden's final NFL start.
15 December 14, 1981 Atlanta Falcons W 21–16 Rams got their second win against the Falcons in this Monday night matchup as Tyler ran for 2 touchdowns and Guman another.
16 December 20, 1981 Washington Redskins L 30–7 The Redskins served notice that they would be a contender in the years to come as they closed out a strong finish after a 0–5 start under new coach Joe Gibbs. Joe Theismann threw for a pair of touchdowns and John Riggins ran for 2 more.


NFC West
San Francisco 49ers(1) 13 3 0 .813 5–1 10–2 357 250 W5
Atlanta Falcons 7 9 0 .438 3–3 6–6 426 355 L3
Los Angeles Rams 6 10 0 .375 2–4 5–7 303 351 L1
New Orleans Saints 4 12 0 .250 2–4 2–10 207 378 L4

See also

Other Anaheim–based teams in 1981


  1. ^ "1981 Los Angeles Rams draftees". Retrieved October 4, 2014.

External links

This page was last edited on 9 June 2019, at 02:29
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