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Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs New Orleans Saints: Notebook

Posted Dec 29, 2013

Saints defeat Buccaneers 42-17 to secure No. 6 seed in playoffs

With Sunday's win, the New Orleans Saints finish the regular season 11-5. Combined with San Francisco's victory over Arizona, New Orleans will enter the NFC playoffs as the No. 6 seed and will travel to the winner of Sunday night's game between Philadelphia and Dallas in an NFC Wild Card game next weekend (day/time TBA).

*New Orleans improved to 8-0 at home in 2013, the second time in franchise history the Saints have won each of their home games. New Orleans was also 8-0 in 2011. New Orleans and Cincinnati were the only NFL teams to finish unbeaten at home in 2013.

*The Saints advance to the NFC playoffs for the 10th time in franchise history, the fourth time in the last five seasons and the fifth time overall under Coach Sean Payton.

*The Saints finish the regular season with 11 or more wins for the seventh time in team history. Four of those seasons have come since 2009.

*The Saints defeated Tampa Bay for the fifth consecutive time and swept the season series for the second straight year, improving their record in the series to 27-17.

*New Orleans opened the contest with a nine-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a 44-yard touchdown pass from QB Drew Brees to WR Lance Moore. It was the first time New Orleans scored on their opening drive since Week 5 at Chicago and the first time the Saints had a touchdown on their opening drive since Week 4 vs. Miami.

*QB Drew Brees completed 24 of 31 passes for 381 yards, four touchdown passes and a passer rating of 157.4, third-highest of his career behind a perfect 158.3 vs. New England in 2009 and 157.5 vs. Green Bay in 2008. He also had a 9-yard touchdown rush.

*Brees ends the 2013 regular season with 5,162 yards passing, his fourth career 5,000-yard season and third in a row. Brees is the only player in NFL history with two or more 5,000-yard seasons.

*Brees’ 300-yard passing game was the 78th of his career – second in NFL history to Peyton Manning’s 84. The 350-yard passing game was the 40th of Brees' career, most in NFL history.

*Brees finished with a season passer rating of 104.7, the fourth time in his career and third time as a Saint he has topped the 100 mark.

*With his 25th career game of four or more TD passes, Brees snapped a tie with Brett Favre for second place on the NFL's list and trails only Manning, who had his 30th career four-TD game Sunday against Oakland.

*Three of Brees' TD passes covered 44 (to Lance Moore), 41 (to Robert Meachem) and 76 yards (to Kenny Stills). It is the first time a Saint has thrown three touchdown passes of 40 or more yards.

*TE Jimmy Graham caught four passes for 68 yards, including a first quarter 33-yard grab and 10-yard touchdown reception. He ends the 2013 regular season with 16 touchdown receptions, a franchise record and second-most by a tight end in NFL history behind only Rob Gronkowski, who caught 17 TD passes for the Patriots in 2011. Graham finished 2013 with a team-leading 86 receptions for 1,215 yards.

*WR Marques Colston had a team-best six receptions for 67 yards to end his 2013 season with 75 catches for 943 yards. It is the seventh time in eight NFL seasons that Colston has caught 70 or more passes.

*Graham, Colston and RBs Pierre Thomas (77 receptions) and Darren Sproles  (71) all finished the season with 70 or more catches, the first time in NFL history four teammates have finished with at least 70 grabs.

*WR Lance Moore had four receptions for 73 yards with one touchdown. On New Orleans’ first drive, he had two grabs for 52 yards, including a 44-yard touchdown grab. The 44-yard grab was Moore's longest grab of the season.

*Meachem's second-quarter touchdown catch was the 25th receiving touchdown of his career, moving him into a tie with WR Quinn Early for eighth place on the club’s all-time list.

*Stills' TD catch was the fifth of his rookie season. All were for 34 yards or longer.

*Stills and Meachem each finished with season averages of 20 yards per reception or higher.

*Thomas' 77 catches are the third-most by a running back in Saints history. Reggie Bush caught 88 passes in 2006 and Sproles had 86 receptions in 2011.

*The Saints defense allowed 290 yards to the Buccaneers to end the season with an average of 305.7 yards allowed per game. Compared to last season's 440.1 yards allowed per game, the Saints improved by 134.4 yards per game this season, by far the greatest improvement in the NFL since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. The previous best improvement was 97.9 yards per game by the 1998 Oakland Raiders (382.3 in 1997, 284.4 in 1998).

*OLB Junior Galette recorded two quarterback sacks to finish the season with a career-high 12 takedowns, one-half  sack behind team leader Cameron Jordan. As a team, the Saints finished 2013 with 49 sacks, the most by a New Orleans defense since the 2001 team had 53.

*CB Keenan Lewis had a third quarter interception for his career-high fourth pick of the season.

*The Saints controlled the football for 34:12 on Sunday and finished 2013 with an average time of possession of 32:41 per game, the best by a New Orleans team since the 1991 team kept the ball for an average of 33:58 per game.

 New Orleans Saints

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