Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Playoff Dream Done

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Playoff Dream Done

Article excerpt

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Mark Sanchez threw four interceptions, but still had one more chance to lead the Jets to a season-saving victory.

It didn't happen. In a cruel twist, the final Jets' turnover wasn't all his fault.

With a first down at the Tennessee 25 in the final minute, center Nick Mangold's shotgun snap to Sanchez was low. Sanchez bobbled it, running back Bilal Powell kicked it backward and Tennessee's Zach Brown fell on it, preserving the Titans' 14-10 victory at LP Field on Monday night.

Sanchez was charged with the fumble, even though the snap was low.

"The thing that really hurts," said coach Rex Ryan, "is we have no one to blame but ourselves. ... I thought we'd be in the playoffs, but that's not where we are."

The Jets (6-8) were eliminated from playoff contention, and will miss the playoffs for the second straight season.

Sanchez tossed two picks each to safety Michael Griffin and to Jason McCourty, the former Rutgers and St. Joseph standout. Griffin's second interception, at the Tennessee 2, stymied a scoring threat. But the Jets forced a punt, and a shanked punt by Brett Kern gave them the ball at the Titans' 25.

Ryan declined to name a starter at quarterback for Sunday's game against visiting San Diego. He again defended Sanchez, saying of the turnovers, "It's not ever on one man."

Tennessee (5-9) went ahead 14-10 on Jake Locker's 13-yard designed touchdown run with 20 seconds left in the third quarter. It capped a seven-play, 64-yard drive that answered the Jets' only touchdown of the game, Sanchez's 17-yard pass to Jeff Cumberland. That put the Jets ahead, 10-7.

With the Jets trailing 7-3 after Chris Johnson's 94-yard touchdown marathon, they inserted Tim Tebow at quarterback. Tebow, who had been sidelined for the previous three games because of fractured ribs, entered and played all six snaps in the series, including one delay of game penalty on him. It was the first time this season he played an entire series in relief of Sanchez.

Tebow's presence helped a little at first, as Joe McKnight ran for 11 yards and Tebow ran for 12 yards on the first two plays. But Tebow then was stopped for 1 yard, was sacked for a 2-yard loss, committed the penalty and then threw a third-down incompletion under pressure. …

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