Freeman leads Bucs past Saints, 23-13

By Jeff Shepard – bio | email

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Josh Freeman passed for two touchdowns and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the New Orleans Saints 23-13 on Sunday to stay alive in the NFC playoff race.

Tampa Bay (10-6) entered the game needing a victory and losses by both the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers, who played later Sunday, to make the playoffs.

Freeman passed for 255 yards, including a 2-yard scoring strike to Dezmon Briscoe in the back of the end zone, and an 18-yard TD to Mike Williams on fourth-and-short.

Connor Barth hit three field goals, the third from 48 yards to give the Bucs a two-score lead with 4:01 to go.

Reggie Bush had 70 yards rushing and 55 yards receiving for the Saints (11-5), who were locked into the fifth playoff seed in the NFC by Atlanta's 31-10 win over Carolina and pulled several starters in the fourth quarter.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)