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Titans' defense delivers in 14-10 win over Jets

Tuesday - 12/18/2012, 1:34am  ET

New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) is brought down by Tennessee Titans defensive end Kamerion Wimbley (95) in the second quarter of an NFL football game, Monday, Dec. 17, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. The Titans won 14-10. (AP Photo/Joe Howell)

AP Sports Writer

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The Tennessee Titans' much-maligned defense used a national showcase Monday night to earn a measure of redemption.

Tennessee's defense forced five turnovers by Mark Sanchez and continually bailed out its struggling offense and special teams in a 14-10 victory over the New York Jets. With their own playoff hopes long gone, the Titans (5-9) relished the opportunity to end the Jets' postseason hopes and snap a three-game skid.

"You've got to keep making them make turnovers," said Titans linebacker Zach Brown, who sealed the win by recovering Sanchez's fumble at the Tennessee 32-yard line with 43 seconds remaining. "For us, we were thinking, they're giving the ball away so we've got to go get it. It's not going to come to us. We've got to go get it."

Chris Johnson had a 94-yard touchdown for the longest run in franchise history and Jake Locker put the Titans ahead for good with a 13-yard quarterback keeper late in the third quarter, but the defense carried Tennessee most of the night.

The Titans entered the weekend having allowed 29.9 points per game to rank 31st out of 32 NFL teams in scoring defense, ahead of only the Oakland Raiders. But the Titans played winning defense Monday and produced their highest takeaway total of the season.

New York's only touchdown came on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Sanchez to Jeff Cumberland in the third quarter after Brett Kern's 30-yard punt allowed the Jets to begin a drive at the Tennessee 35. Sanchez otherwise had a dreadful night with four interceptions and one fumble.

Sanchez turned the ball over on each of New York's last three possessions. After throwing four interceptions earlier in the night, Sanchez wasted New York's final opportunity by fumbling a low shotgun snap after another shanked punt by Kern had given the Jets the ball at the Titans 25 with 47 seconds left.

"It doesn't feel good hurting your team like that," Sanchez said. "It's not a winning formula. It never feels good."

Plenty of Titans defenders took turns harassing Sanchez.

Two days after his fiancee gave birth to a daughter, Titans cornerback Jason McCourty picked off two of Sanchez's passes to double his season interception total.

"It's been hectic, but this is what we do," McCourty said. "Once you get out there on the field on Monday Night Football, it's like everything just clicks. This is what you do. This is what you're used to. This is the environment where you relax."

Titans safety Michael Griffin also had two interceptions after picking off just one pass in Tennessee's first 13 games.

Brown, a second-round draft pick out of North Carolina, entered with 2
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