It wasn't pretty, far from perfect, but what did you expect when the 4-9 Titans played the 6-7 Jets?
The question of the night: How in the world did the Jets manage to win six games?
The Titans were just good enough to take a 14-10 win, in turn knocking the Jets out of the playoff picture.
It will not go down as a memorable Monday Night Football game and the overnight ratings will likely reflect that.
But when you've had the injuries and sour luck the Titans have been fighting, this one had to be sweet.
"It's huge any time you get five turnovers in a game and we didn't have any,'' Titans Coach Mike Munchak said. "When we had to score, we did it when we had to.''
Munchak was right. His defense tormented Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez all night, intercepting him four times and sacking his three times. It was the final interception near the Titans goal line late in the game that prevented the Titans from losing the game. Safety Michael Griffin cut in front of the intended receiver and picked it out of the air. It marked the second time Griffin snared a Sanchez pass.
Although Titans quarterback Jake Locker misfired several times when he had open receivers, he didn't have a turnover and made what would turn out to be the winning touchdown by running a designed play from 13 yards out late in the third quarter.
"Our (blockers) locked on them and stayed on them,'' Locker said of the run. "I had a convoy out there. They did a great job.''
But the highlight of a game where they were at a premium was the record 94-yard touchdown run by Chris Johnson. It was the longest touchdown run in the history of a franchise that dates back more than 50 years.
It was a block by Kyle DeVan that sprung Johnson. DeVan was pressed into action when starting center Kevin Matthews went out with an ankle injury.
"It was an inside zone play. They were pressing and Kyle DeVan got on his man and I came right behind him. Once I jumped through the line, I seen nothing but daylight. From there, I was just hitting it,'' Johnson said.
"It's a situation that I just read it, stayed patient and cut back through the offensive line. That's when I saw the daylight.''
It was the sixth touchdown run of 80 yards or more for Johnson, which is an NFL record.
Johnson was touched by the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. He wrote the name of every victim on his game shoes as a tribute to them and the NFL allowed it.
"I was thinking about those kids all week,'' Johnson said. "It was real tough. It shows you how blessed you are to see your kids every day,'' he said. "When you have kids and see something like that, it hurts.''
Johnson will auction the shoes off and donate the money to charity.
Quarterback Jake Locker admitted he had the best view in the house on Johnson's run.
"Once he gets into that second level, I'm willing to say we are celebrating in the end zone 100 percent of the time,'' Locker said of Johnson. "He hit that hole so quick, it caught them out of position. He exploded through that hole.''
It was a most welcome win for a 5-9 Titans team whose season has been filled with disappointment.
The Jets will remember this one as one that they let get away.
"As big as this game is, I mean this was a huge game for us,'' Jets Coach Rex Ryan said. "And to turn it over five times, to get the ball on the 25 yard line with a chance to win it at the end and then to turn it over again. Obviously it was extremely disappointing to say the least.''
Munchak said the pride his team carried into the game made a difference. It was on Monday Night Football when their NFL peers are watching. And let's be honest, pride was about the only thing the Titans had to play for.
"It was (pride) for us. We are not happy the way things have gone, especially the last two-three weeks. … I knew these guys would come out ready to play and play hard. We did that, didn't always play smart but we played good enough to make enough plays to win the game,'' Munchak said.
"We know 7-9 is the best we could do and we'll play hard the next two weeks.''
The Titans go on to play the Green Bay Packers at noon next Sunday at Lambeau Field.
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