Final Word: NFC South

December, 16, 2011
12/16/11
1:30
PM ET
NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 15:

Time for a comeback? Before things got out of hand over the past couple of months, Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman had built a reputation for leading his team to fourth-quarter comebacks. The Bucs might not be capable of that these days, but there is some encouraging news on this front. The Cowboys, Tampa Bay's opponent Saturday, have lost three games this season after leading by at least 12 points in the fourth quarter. In the 51 seasons prior to this one, Dallas had lost only twice after leading by 12 or more points in the fourth quarter.

[+] EnlargeTampa Bay's Josh Freeman
Jake Roth/US PRESSWIRETampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman's 18 interceptions leads the NFL.
On a record pace. Freeman has thrown 18 interceptions to lead the league. That’s triple his total from the 2010 season. He has a chance to join an infamous club. Since 1990, only two Tampa Bay quarterbacks have thrown at least 20 interceptions. Brad Johnson had 21 in 2003 and Craig Erickson had 21 in 1993.

On a record pace II. New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham has a streak of five games in which he has had at least five receptions. Graham is on pace for 98 catches and 1,355 receiving yards. Marques Colston set the team record with 98 receptions in 2007. The franchise record for receiving yards in a season is 1,399, set by Joe Horn in 2004.

Chasing Manning. Carolina quarterback Cam Newton already has thrown for 3,573 yards. He needs 167 more yards to break the rookie record that was set by Peyton Manning in 1998.

Coughing it up. Tampa Bay running back LeGarrette Blount fumbled twice last Sunday and lost one. Blount now has five fumbles for the season. That ranks him No. 2 in the league among running backs. Only Jacksonville’s Maurice Jones-Drew (six) has more fumbles.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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NFC SOUTH SCOREBOARD