Josh Freeman threw touchdown passes to rookies Mike Williams and Dezmon Briscoe, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers briefly kept their playoff hopes alive with a 23-13 victory over the host New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
The Buccaneers, though, were eliminated from postseason contention when the Green Bay Packers defeated the Chicago Bears 10-3.
The Saints (11-5) finished the regular season with seven victories in their last nine games, and are the No. 5 seed in the NFC playoffs. They will play travel to Seattle to play the AFC West champion Seahawks on Saturday afternoon.
Freeman finished 21 of 26 for 255 yards and Connor Barth kicked three field goals as Tampa Bay (10-6) finished 1-5 against winning teams this season.
Williams caught his NFL-leading 11th touchdown pass among rookies – an 18-yard jump ball in the third quarter – to give the Buccaneers a 20-10 lead.
Briscoe, one of 10 rookies in the starting lineup for Tampa Bay, scored his first career touchdown to put the Buccaneers on top 10-7 in the second quarter.
The Saints’ Drew Brees finished 22 of 38 for 196 yards with an interception and a touchdown pass to Jimmy Graham. It was the rookie tight end’s fourth touchdown catch in his last three games.
Chase Daniel replaced Brees with 9:15 left in the game, and completed his first NFL pass on his first attempt.