Published December 17, 2012
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Chris Johnson burst up the middle in the second quarter for a 94-yard touchdown run — the longest in an NFL game since 2006 — to give the Tennessee Titans a 7-3 halftime lead over the New York Jets on Monday night.
The Jets (6-7) were attempting to keep their faint playoff hopes alive. They entered the night needing to win their three remaining games and to receive some help from others to have any hope of reaching the postseason. The Jets host San Diego and travel to Buffalo in their final two games.
After Robert Malone's 53-yard punt backed the Titans up to their own 5-yard line, Johnson rushed for 1 yard on first down. On the next play, he found a seam up the middle and appeared untouched on his way to the end zone.
Jets safety Yeremiah Bell chased Johnson most of the way and made an unsuccessful diving attempt to tackle him from behind inside the 15.
Johnson's touchdown run was the longest by any NFL player since Minnesota's Chester Taylor had a 95-yard touchdown in a 31-13 victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Oct. 22, 2006.
The previous record for the longest run in franchise history was 91 yards, a mark shared by Johnson and Sid Blanks. Johnson had a 91-yard run against the Houston Texans in 2009. Blanks also did it against the Jets in 1964.
This marked Johnson's sixth career touchdown run of at least 80 yards, giving him twice as many as anyone else in NFL history. Barry Sanders, Ahman Green, Hugh McElhenny and O.J. Simpson each had three touchdown runs of at least 80 yards.
Johnson headed into halftime with 106 yards rushing on 10 carries, giving him 32 career 100-yard games.
The Jets had taken a 3-0 lead after Nick Folk's 22-yard field goal capped their first possession of the night, but they failed to move the ball the rest of the half. New York quarterback Mark Sanchez was 5 of 10 for 27 yards and an interception.
Jason McCourty picked off Sanchez's pass in the second quarter for the struggling quarterback's 14th interception and 20th turnover of the season.
The Jets allowed backup quarterback Tim Tebow to run the offense for a complete series in the second quarter. The Jets picked up two first downs on that drive and advanced to their own 44 on that series, but the drive stalled from there after a sack, a delay-of-game penalty and an incompletion.
Sanchez returned to the game on the Jets' next series and promptly threw the interception to McCourty.
New York appeared to reach the end zone on its opening possession when tight end Jeff Cumberland caught a 4-yard pass from Sanchez on third-and-goal, but the original ruling of a touchdown was overturned after replays showed the ball hit the ground.
The Jets got plenty of assistance from Tennessee on that field-goal drive. The Titans were penalized three times, including a defensive holding penalty and a face-mask call on safety Jordan Babineaux. The holding penalty on Babineaux gave the Jets an automatic first down on what would have been a third-down incompletion.
At least the Jets got points out of their march into the red zone. The Titans also drove inside the 20 on their opening possession and didn't get anything out of it.
After a 15-yard reception and a 30-yard catch by Nate Washington helped Tennessee advance to the red zone, Calvin Pace stuffed Johnson for a 10-yard loss on third-and-1 from the 18. Muhammad Wilkerson then blocked Rob Bironas' 46-yard field-goal attempt.
Before the game, a moment of silence was held for victims of the shootings Friday in Newtown, Conn. Twenty children and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The gunman also killed his mother in her home before committing suicide.
Johnson had the names of all the victims written on the two shoes he wore for the game. He also had the words "R.I.P. SHES" and a cross written on each shoe. The Jets had an "SHES" decal on their helmets.