Titans 14, Jets 10

Chris Johnson went 94 yards for the longest touchdown run in the
NFL since 2006 and the Tennessee Titans beat the Jets 14-10 on
Monday night to eliminate New York from playoff contention.

Jake Locker’s first touchdown run of the season put Tennessee
ahead late in the third quarter and the Titans intercepted four
passes by a struggling Mark Sanchez to snap a three-game skid.

After bumbling around all night, the Jets somehow still had a
chance to win when they took over at the Tennessee 25 with 47
seconds left following a 19-yard punt by Brett Kern. But Sanchez
fumbled a low shotgun snap, Bilal Powell inadvertently kicked the
ball away and the Titans recovered to seal it.

It was a fitting end to an ugly game that left New York coach
Rex Ryan cursing to himself as he walked off the field.

The Jets (6-8) needed to win their final three games and get
help elsewhere to earn a playoff spot. Instead, the Titans sacked
Sanchez three times and got a fourth on Tim Tebow. Jason McCourty
and Michael Griffin each had two interceptions, keeping New York
out of the playoffs for a second straight season after reaching
consecutive AFC title games.

Johnson, with the names of the victims of Friday’s shootings in
Connecticut written on his cleats, ran a franchise-record 94 yards
for a TD in the second quarter. Locker’s 13-yard touchdown run at
the end of the third put the Titans (5-9) ahead to stay.

The Jets took a 10-7 lead when Sanchez and Jeff Cumberland
connected on a 17-yard touchdown pass with 3:19 to go in the third.
The Titans responded on their next possession with Locker’s
quarterback keeper around left end, capping a seven-play, 64-yard
drive.

On Cumberland’s touchdown, the Jets’ tight end caught a
third-and-12 pass at about the 5-yard line after getting behind
Titans linebacker Tim Shaw, starting in place of injured defensive
captain Colin McCarthy. Cumberland headed into the end zone from
there.

The Jets began that drive at the Titans 35 after Kern shanked a
30-yard punt. Kern had been one of the few steady performers this
season for the Titans.

The Titans owned a 7-3 halftime lead after Johnson’s long
scamper in the second quarter. His touchdown run was the longest by
any NFL player since Minnesota’s Chester Taylor had a 95-yard TD in
a 31-13 victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Oct. 22, 2006.

After Robert Malone’s 53-yard punt backed the Titans up to their
own 5-yard line, Johnson rushed for 1 yard on first down. On the
next play, he found a seam up the middle and appeared untouched on
his way to the end zone.

Jets safety Yeremiah Bell chased Johnson most of the way and
made an unsuccessful diving attempt to tackle him from behind
inside the 15.

The previous record for the longest run in franchise history was
91 yards, a mark shared by Johnson and Sid Blanks. Johnson had a
91-yard run against the Houston Texans in 2009. Blanks also did it
against the Jets in 1964.

This marked Johnson’s sixth career touchdown run of at least 80
yards, giving him twice as many as anyone else in NFL history.
Barry Sanders, Ahman Green, Hugh McElhenny and O.J. Simpson each
had three touchdown runs of at least 80 yards.

Johnson was otherwise held in check, but he still headed into
the fourth quarter with 110 yards rushing on 10 carries, giving him
32 career 100-yard games.

The Jets grabbed a 3-0 lead when Nick Folk’s 22-yard field goal
capped their first possession of the night. New York appeared to
reach the end zone when Cumberland caught a 4-yard pass from
Sanchez on third-and-goal, but the original ruling of a touchdown
was overturned after replays showed the ball hit the ground.

Sanchez struggled after that opening drive and was 9 of 19 for
93 yards through three quarters. He threw a pair of interceptions
to McCourty, giving the slumping quarterback 21 turnovers this
season.

The Jets allowed Tebow to run the offense for a complete series
in the second quarter. They picked up two first downs on that
series and advanced to their own 44, but the drive stalled from
there after a sack, a delay-of-game penalty and an
incompletion.

Sanchez returned on the Jets’ next series and promptly threw his
first interception to McCourty.

McCourty picked off another pass in the third quarter when
Sanchez overthrew a deep pass to Cumberland. A 28-yard return gave
the Titans the ball at the Jets 46, but Tennessee couldn’t get
beyond the 35 and eventually punted.

Before the game, a moment of silence was held for victims of the
shootings Friday in Newtown, Conn. Twenty children and six adults
were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The gunman also killed
his mother in her home before committing suicide.

Johnson had the names of all the victims written on the two
shoes he wore for the game. He also had the words ”R.I.P. SHES”
and a cross written on each shoe. The Jets had an ”SHES” decal on
their helmets.

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