Jets vs. Titans: Tennessee Picks off Sanchez to Win 2012's Ugliest Game

Nate DunlevyGuest ColumnistDecember 18, 2012

Chris Johnson was alternately great and terrible.
Chris Johnson was alternately great and terrible.Andy Lyons/Getty Images

In an ugly year full of ugly losses, the Tennessee Titans finally got the perfect antidote to what ails them.

An ugly win.

It wasn't pretty and it was barely classifiable as football, but the Titans dumped the New York Jets 14-10 on Monday night to claim their fifth win of the season and dash the flickering playoff hopes of Gang Green.

The Titans rode five turnovers from Mark Sanchez and one big run from Chris Johnson to victory on a night when neither team looked ready for prime time.

The nightmare contest featured blocked kicks, shanked punts, more sacks than scores and a bevy of bad plays that played as if they were on an endless three hour loop.

And that was just the winning team.

Jake Locker and Sanchez combined to pass for 280 yards as neither team moved the ball effectively.

Jason McCourty and Michael Griffin each picked off Sanchez twice, but despite all the mistakes, the Jets still had multiple chances to win the game in the final minutes.

Sanchez drove the Jets to the Titans' 23 with two minutes to play, but tossed his fourth pick of the game to Griffin at the two-yard line.

After three runs for four yards and a 19-yard punt, the Jets were back in business at the 25 with 47 seconds to play.

Sanchez promptly fumbled the snap. Zach Brown capped off a two-sack night by falling on the loose ball and securing the first Tennessee victory in more than a month.

The Titans only had a pair of sustained drives as the offense put up just a pair of scores. The first was a team-record 94-yard touchdown run from Chris Johnson, who put up just 28 yards on his other 20 carries.

The other Tennessee points came on a 13-yard scramble by Locker in the third quarter to retake the lead after Sanchez had briefly staked the Jets to a 10-7 advantage.

The uneven play of Locker and Johnson typifies what the Titans have gotten from both key players in 2012. Locker was inaccurate and made poor decisions, but played tough and took hits. Johnson was explosive, but also incapable of generating yardage for long stretches.

For Tennessee, the win ensures they won't tie for the worst record since the franchise moved to Nashville in 1997.

They face a seemingly impossible task in Week 16 against the Green Bay Packers, but finish the season at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars, leaving the door open for a 6-10 season.

While it's certainly not the campaign Mike Munchak and company envisioned, a couple of wins down the stretch might be enough to save the head coach's job.

At this point, even ugly wins are beautiful in Nashville.