TAMPA, Fla. -

Drew Brees threw four touchdown passes as visiting New Orleans held off Tampa Bay for its second straight win.

The Buccaneers (2-4) appeared to tie the score on the last play of the game when Josh Freeman, who threw for a career-high 420 yards, completed a pass to Mike Williams in the back of the end zone. But Williams had stepped out of bounds before making the catch and was penalized for illegal touching.

Vincent Jackson caught seven passes for a team-record 216 yards but his potential tying TD was negated when he was ruled out of the back of the end zone with 5 seconds to play.

Brees hit seven different receivers in the game and passed for 377 yards while completing 27 of 37 attempts. Brees, who has thrown 11 touchdown passes in his last three games, had three scoring strikes in the second quarter as the Saints (2-4) turned a 14-0 deficit into a 28-21 halftime lead. Darren Sproles, Joseph Morgan and David Thomas were on the receiving end of the touchdown receptions in the big second quarter.

Running back Pierre Thomas scored his first touchdown of the season on a 5-yard run early in the fourth quarter to give the Saints breathing room, but the Bucs cut the deficit to 35-28 on a 3-yard pass from Freeman to tight end Dallas Clark with 4:10 to play.

GAME NOTEBOOK: New Orleans played without TE Jimmy Graham, who didn't make the trip due to a sprained ankle. ... Brees increased his NFL record by throwing a touchdown pass for the 49th straight game. ... Jonathan Vilma, appealing a season-long suspension for his alleged part in the bounty scandal, made his debut at linebacker for the Saints. ... The Bucs had a chance to tie the game at 28 late in the third quarter after Freeman hit Jackson with a 95-yard pass play, but Tampa Bay was denied four times from inside the 2-yard line by the Saints' defense.