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Bucs improve, but still far short of playoffs

Updated: December 31, 2012, 8:54 PM ET
Associated Press

(Eds: With AP Photos.)

By FRED GOODALL

AP Sports Writer

TAMPA, Fla. -- Josh Freeman became Tampa Bay's first 4,000-yard passer and also threw for more touchdowns in a season than any player in franchise history, yet the NFL playoffs will begin without the Buccaneers for the fifth straight year.

Sunday's 22-17 victory over the Atlanta Falcons stopped a five-game losing streak and enabled the Bucs (7-9) to finish with three more wins than they did a year ago, when a season-ending ...

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