Tampa, Fla. - The New Orleans Saints ended their four-game losing streak and quarterback Drew Brees continued his relentless march on the NFL record books Sunday at Raymond James Stadium vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Brees tossed two scoring touchdown passes (Nos. 420 and 421), veteran running back Tim Hightower had his first rushing touchdown in more than four years (1,555 days) as the Saints beat the Bucs 24-17. The Saints (5-8) won their second road game this season and avenged an earlier loss at home to Tampa Bay (6-7).
Brees connected with favorite target Marques Colston twice for TDs - the 70th and 71st scoring passes the two have connected on - in the first half. The first was a 3-yarder up the middle while the second was a 1-yard fade to the left side of the end zone.
Brees has 421 touchdown passes, moving him past Dan Marino for fourth all time. He was 31 of 41 for 312 and the two TDs vs. the Bucs. Receiver Willie Snead had a big day with seven catches for 122 yards, while tight end Ben Watson added seven catches for 70 yards. Colston had six catches for 36 yards and the two first-half touchdowns.
Hightower, who hadn't scored a touchdown since Sept. 11, 2011 when he was with the Redskins, powered in from 3 yards away in the third quarter. Hightower was playing in place of starting running back Mark Ingram who was placed on injured reserve last week with a shoulder injury. Hightower finished the game with 28 carries for 85 yards and the TD.
Kicker Kai Forbath provided the other Saints points, a 23-yard field goal near the end of the first half.
The game marked the return of linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and defensive back Damian Swann to the Saints' lineup and the unit kept Bucs QB Jameis Winston largely in check. The rookie top draft pick was 18 of 32 for 182 yards and a TD.
Tampa scored on a 14-yard touchdown run by Doug Martin in the second quarter, a 39-yard Connor Barth field toward the end of the quarter and a 6-yard pass from Winston to Adam Humphries. Barth missed a 49-yard attempt in the game. Martin finished with 81 yards on 11 attempts. The Saints will have an extra day off before their next game, a "Monday Night Football" contest vs. the Detroit Lions (4-9) at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.