NASHVILLE -- Victory went to the team making the next-to-last mistake Monday night.
After Tennessee's Brett Kern shanked a 19-yard punt out of bounds at the Titans' 25-yard line with 47 seconds left, giving the New York Jets a final chance to win, quarterback Mark Sanchez gave the ball right back with his fifth turnover of the game.
Sanchez's fumbled snap, recovered by Titans linebacker Zach Brown with 43 seconds remaining, preserved a 14-10 Tennessee victory that eliminated the Jets from AFC playoff contention.
After time expired, Sanchez, who tossed four interceptions and completed only 13 of 28 passes for 131 yards, walked off the LP Field turf with a glassy-eyed look on his face.
"Extremely disappointing to say the least," said Jets coach Rex Ryan, whose team fell to 6-8. "The last play was as bad as it gets."
Sanchez couldn't hang on to a low shotgun snap from center Nick Mangold, and running back Bilal Powell accidentally booted the ball out of Sanchez's reach before Brown pounced on it to end the sloppy contest.
Brown earlier recorded two sacks.
Tennessee (5-9) won for just the second time in seven games despite committing 14 penalties for 111 yards and punting 10 times. The Titans did just enough on offense to earn their second prime-time win of the year.
Jake Locker's 13-yard touchdown run with 20 seconds left in the third quarter was the game-winning score. On the seven-play, 64-yard drive, Locker connected on passes of 21, 12 and 13 yards to Michael Preston, Nate Washington and Kendall Wright, respectively.
More important, Locker avoided turnovers after giving the ball away nine times in the previous three games -- all losses. He finished 13-for-22 for 149 yards Monday.
"That was one of our keys coming in -- winning the turnover battle," Locker said. "We missed a few plays, but they have a really good defense. We stayed away from turnovers."
Chris Johnson provided the first half's lone offensive highlight. His franchise-record, 94-yard touchdown run with 8:53 left in the second quarter gave Tennessee a 7-3 halftime lead. It was the third scoring jaunt of 80 yards or longer this season for Johnson, who owns the NFL record with six 80-plus-yard touchdown runs.
Johnson, who finished with 122 yards on 21 carries, paid tribute to the shooting victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., writing their names on his shoes. He said that he plans to auction the shoes and donate the proceeds to charity.
"When you have kids and see a story like that, you're kind of heartbroken," he said. "We are just fortunate to play this game. I don't care who you is, it's just emotional."
Johnson nearly outgained the Jets in the first half with one run. New York managed just 99 total yards, as Sanchez and backup quarterback Tim Tebow were completely ineffective in the air, throwing for just 27 yards.
Tebow played his first full series of the year during the second quarter, rushing twice for 13 yards, getting sacked for 2 yards and throwing an incomplete pass on third-and-16. After that, he took just one more snap for the game's remainder.
"I talked to (offensive coordinator) Tony (Sparano) about putting him in on the third series," Ryan said of Tebow. "We were going to use him more as the game went on, but we do what we think gives our team the best shot of winning."
Sanchez appeared to throw a 4-yard scoring strike to tight end Jeff Cumberland on the Jets' first possession, but Cumberland bobbled the ball as he rolled over. Referee Walt Coleman overturned the touchdown call after viewing a replay, and New York had to settle for Nick Folk's 22-yard field goal.
Sanchez finished the night with a 32.6 passer rating, but Ryan said he wasn't ready to name a starter for Sunday's home game against the San Diego Chargers.
"We knew if we could get ahead, we could force them to try to make a play," Titans cornerback Jason McCourty said when asked if Sanchez tipped his throws.
McCourty and safety Michael Griffin each intercepted two passes, including Griffin's leaping grab at the Tennessee 2-yard line with 1:51 remaining in the game.
Sanchez's 17-yard touchdown pass to Cumberland with 3:19 left in the third quarter gave the Jets a short-lived 10-7 lead. But Griffin and the Titans' normally exploitable defense feasted on Sanchez's tendency to turn the ball over in the endgame.
"We just wanted to stop them," Griffin said. "We were able to make plays."
NOTES: Tennessee kicker Rob Bironas' extra point after Johnson's touchdown run gave him 100 points for the season, the sixth consecutive season he's reached that milestone. In franchise history, only Al Del Greco had more 100-point seasons, eight. ... The Jets played without starting tight end Dustin Keller (ankle) and wide receiver Stephen Hill (knee). ... Middle linebacker Colin McCarthy (concussion) was the most notable of the Titans' inactive players.