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Saints defeat Buccaneers 23-20 in regular-season finale

Saints end the season at 7-9, second in NFC South

Tampa, Fla. - The New Orleans Saints overcame a slow start to defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23-20 on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium in the regular-season finale.

The Saints end the season at 7-9 and finish second in the NFC South. The Buccaneers finish the season 2-14.

The Saints trailed 20-7 at halftime but scored 16 unanswered points to win their fourth consecutive road game. They finished the 2014 season with a 4-4 road mark. 

Running back Mark Ingram got the fourth-quarter scoring started with a 1-yard run to cap a 6-play 54-yard drive. Then the defense stepped up and created a turnover as Keenan Lewis intercepted Josh McCown to give the Saints the ball at midfield. Following a fourth-down conversion quarterback Drew Brees hit receiver Marques Colston for a 36-yard touchdown and a 21-20 lead.

Outside linebacker Junior Galette sealed the victory when he sacked McCown for a safety to produce the final score.

Brees had a tough outing with three interceptions but the veteran did complete 24 of 38 passes for 281 yards. He came up 48 yards short of his fourth consecutive 5,000-yard season.

Ingram led the team in rushing with 14 carries for 57 yards, coming up 36 yards short of the first 1,000-yard season of his career. Khiry Robinson ran the ball seven times for 15 yards and had a 1-yard scoring run in the second quarter.

Tight end Jimmy Graham had six receptions for 54 yards and Kenny Stills added five for 82 yards.

It was also the final game for Saints equipment manager Dan "Chief" Simmons. He is retiring after 42 years with the franchise.

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