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New York Jets exit AFC playoff picture in fitting fashion

The New York Jets' train wreck of a 2012 season will officially include another dark January.

In a game ugly even by their standards, the Jets turned the ball over five times -- including four more Mark Sanchez interceptions -- in a 14-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Monday night. At 6-8, the Jets are eliminated from postseason contention.

The Jets managed wins in their past two games by leaning hard on a defense that's operated with a razor-thin margin for error. The unit was mostly stout again on Monday, but there was no covering for an offense that's as inept as any in franchise history.

It starts with Sanchez, whose miserable season goes well beyond the presence of Tim Tebow or the decided lack of playmakers surrounding him. Against the Titans, all of Sanchez's flaws were on clear display: His mechanics were a wreck, his reads poor and he's constantly late with decisions. All footage of his final two interceptions should be destroyed so as not to influence the minds of young quarterbacks across America.

The final meaningful play of the season was also the most painful. The Jets forced a three-and-out after Sanchez's fourth pick, leading to a 19-yard shank by Titans punter Brett Kern that gave the Jets the ball at Tennessee's 25 with 47 seconds to play. On first down, a low snap by Nick Mangold slipped through Sanchez's fingers and bounced to the turf before being recovered by the Titans.


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"That's about as bad as it gets," coach Rex Ryan said.

An uncertain offseason looms for the Jets. They have a major decision to make on Sanchez, who's guaranteed more than $8 million in 2013 thanks to the foolish extension handed out last spring. Ryan will probably be back, but there are no guarantees for either the coach or for general manager Mike Tannenbaum.

Heads will be on a swivel in Florham Park. Failure like this comes with consequences.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.

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