(Eds: With AP Photos.) By FRED GOODALL AP Sports Writer 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 10-game skid led to the dismissal of former coach Raheem Morris and the hiring of Greg Schiano.
''Ending the season like this and not making the playoffs, it's unacceptable and it's not where we want to be,'' said Freeman, who threw for 4,065 yards and 27 touchdowns en route to also becoming the team's all-time leader in TD passes with 78.
''Obviously, it's what you play for. If you end the year without winning the Super Bowl, your season can't be considered a success,'' the fourth-year pro added. ''But certainly I'm opt...