Brees throws 4 TDs, Saints hang on to beat Bucs

By Fred Goodall

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, Oct. 21 2012 2:40 p.m. MDT

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) celebrates with backup quarterback Chase Daniel (10) after throwing a touchdown pass to tight end David Thomas against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012, in Tampa, Fla.

Brian Blanco, Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. — Jonathan Vilma played for the first time while appealing a season-long suspension for his role in the Saints bounty program and Drew Brees threw for 377 yards and four touchdowns to pace a 35-28 come-from-behind victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

While it's debatable how much Vilma's return impacted the Saints defense, the unit turned back two drives near the end zone in the second half, including the final three plays of the game to preserve New Orleans' second straight win.

Brees extended his NFL record for consecutive games with at least one TD pass to 49, while leading long scoring drives on four straight possessions to turn a 14-point deficit into a 28-21 halftime lead.

Josh Freeman threw for 420 yards and three touchdowns for the Bucs. His bid to force overtime ended with three straight incompletions from inside the Saints' 10.

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