|Date of game: 12/17/2012
Recap: Tennessee vs. NY Jets
Nashville, TN (Sports Network) - The Tennessee Titans played the role of spoiler to perfection on Monday night.
With the Jets' playoff hopes hanging in the balance, Chris Johnson rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries and the Titans intercepted New York quarterback Mark Sanchez four times in a 14-10 victory at LP Field.
Jake Locker finished 13-of-22 passing for 149 yards to go with 43 rushing yards and a touchdown on seven carries for the Titans (5-9), who snapped a three-game skid.
"The bottom line is we hung in there," Titans coach Mike Munchak remarked. "It's something we haven't been able to do the last two, three weeks is hold on to a lead or find a way to win in the fourth quarter and this time we did. It's just good to win again. It's been a while."
New York (6-8) needed to win its final three games to have a shot at a playoff berth, but Sanchez's performance, which included a fumbled snap with the Jets deep in Tennessee territory and under a minute remaining, ended any chance of the Jets earning a postseason bid.
The fourth-year quarterback completed just 13-of-28 passes for 131 yards with a touchdown in the setback, snapping New York's two-game winning streak and forcing the Jets to begin looking toward next year.
"This is a devastating loss," Jets coach Rex Ryan lamented. "We're out of the playoffs. It hurts beyond belief. We got no one to blame but ourselves. We give up two big runs and then obviously the five turnovers. We kept turning the ball over. It's been killing us."
New York didn't pick up a first down in the fourth quarter until seven minutes into the frame when Shonn Greene ripped off a 6-yard run. Sanchez, though, tried to go deep on the next play and was picked off by Michael Griffin.
The Jets quickly forced a three-and-out to regain possession and Sanchez guided his team deep into Tennessee with the help of a big roughing the passer penalty on 3rd-and-4 near midfield.
The drive ended in another Sanchez pick however, as he floated a pass toward the end zone intended for Jeff Cumberland that was intercepted by Griffin at the Tennessee 2.
Tennessee rushed the ball three straight times to make the Jets burn their final two timeouts before punting the ball away with just under a minute left.
Brett Kern had the ensuing punt go off the side of his foot, resulting in a 19-yard punt to give New York the ball at the Tennessee 25 with 47 seconds left.
The Jets, though, gave it right back, as Sanchez couldn't handle a low snap from center Nick Mangold and Zach Brown pounced on the fumble to end the game and the Jets' playoff aspirations.
"I didn't get the ball to Mark," Mangold admitted. "Right there we had the opportunity to win."
After the Titans had a field goal blocked on the opening possession of the contest, Sanchez led the Jets into Tennessee territory before back-to-back penalties against the Titans moved the ball to the Tennessee 6.
Sanchez appeared to throw a 6-yard touchdown to Cumberland on 3rd-and-4, but video review showed the ball hit the ground, setting up Nick Folk's 22-yard field goal to give the Jets a 3-0 lead.
The teams then exchanged punts before Johnson broke free for the second longest run in Monday Night Football history.
New York pinned the Titans at their own 5-yard line, but on the second play of the touch, Johnson broke through the line and left a number of defenders in his wake en route to a 94-yard TD run to make it 7-3 with just under nine minutes left in the half.
"That was the key play of the game," Jets linebacker David Harris remarked. "I should have made that play. It's real frustrating because we knew what was on the line."
Neither offense managed much from there and the Titans carried their four- point edge into the locker room.
The Jets finally found the end zone late in the third, as a 30-yard punt from Kern set New York up at the Tennessee 35.
Joe McKnight rushed for 20 yards on the first play of the touch, and on 3rd- and-12, Sanchez found Cumberland for a 17-yard touchdown strike to give the Jets a 10-7 lead with 3:17 left in the third.
Tennessee stormed right back, as Locker completed three straight passes before capping the 7-play, 64-yard drive with a 13-yard run around the left end to put the Titans back in front, 14-10, with 20 seconds left in the third.Game Notes
Tony Dorsett's 99-yard touchdown run back in 1982 is the longest run in Monday
Night Football history ... Johnson has rushed for 1,159 yards this season,
giving him four straight seasons with 1,100-plus rushing yards ... Johnson has
six career TDs of 80-plus yards, which is the most in NFL history ... Jets
wide receiver Braylon Edwards, who was claimed off waivers from Seattle
earlier this week, finished with three catches for 47 yards.