Josh Freeman threw for 237 yards and a career-high five touchdowns Sunday as the host Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Seattle Seahawks 38-15 to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Despite the loss, Seattle (6-9) can win the NFC West and host a first-round playoff game with a victory over the visiting St. Louis Rams (7-8) next week.
Tampa Bay (9-6) is still alive in the chase for a wild card berth and travels to NFC South rival New Orleans (10-4) next week to close out the regular season. The Buccaneers are battling the Green Bay Packers (9-6) and the New York Giants (9-6) for a postseason spot.
Freeman completed 21 of 26 passes and connected with Kellen Winslow and Mike Williams on two touchdowns passes apiece as the Buccaneers scored 31 consecutive points after Seattle took an early 7-0 lead. Freeman also tossed a 2-yard TD pass to Maurice Stovall before being replaced by Josh Johnson with six minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Rookie running back LeGarrette Blount added a career-high 164 yards rushing on 18 carries for Tampa Bay, which finished with 439 yards of total offense. Freeman, a second-year player from Kansas State, had never thrown more than three touchdowns in a game.
Freeman threw a 10-yard TD pass to Winslow 2:37 into the second quarter to give Tampa Bay its first lead at 10-7. Williams caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from Freeman six minutes later as the Buccaneers took a 10-point lead into halftime.
A 21-yard TD pass to Winslow midway through the third quarter and a 7-yard scoring toss to Williams gave Tampa Bay a commanding 31-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Winslow finished with seven catches for 98 yards while Williams had three receptions for 44 yards.
Marshawn Lynch had 53 yards rushing on 14 carries for Seattle, which has lost seven of its last nine games. Leon Washington had a 16-yard TD run for the Seahawks.