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Jets' playoff hopes end in 14-10 loss to Titans

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Jets' playoff hopes end in 14-10 loss to Titans

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Rex Ryan has stuck up for Mark Sanchez from the start. Watching the quarterback literally throw away the Jets' slim playoff hopes with a season-high five turnovers against Tennessee may be the final straw for New York's coach.

Sanchez turned the ball over on the Jets' final three possessions Monday night, the last a fumbled snap at the Tennessee 25 with 43 seconds left, and the Titans held on for a 14-10 victory that knocked New York out of postseason contention.

``Obviously, it's a devastating loss, out of the playoffs, and it hurts beyond belief,'' Ryan said. ``I think the thing that really hurts the most is we've got no one to blame but ourselves.''

The Jets (6-8) needed to win out and get some help to reach the playoffs, and they had an easy schedule against three straight losing teams. Instead, the Jets will be sitting at home in January for a second straight season after Sanchez helped New York reach the AFC title game in his first two years.

``Obviously, this isn't what I thought this football team would be,'' Ryan said. ``There's no doubt about that. I thought we'd be in the playoffs, but that's not where we are. We have two games left and I believe my team's going to give everything we have and we're going to try like crazy to win these games. As a competitor, that's all you have left and that's what we're going to do.''

Ryan was left cursing to himself as he walked off the field after his defense had given the Jets an improbable chance to win despite an ugly performance. With first-and-10 at the Titans 25, Sanchez lined up in the shotgun but couldn't grab a low snap that running back Bilal Powell inadvertently kicked away.

Titans rookie linebacker Zach Brown covered it up to seal the win.

``We had our chance and fell flat on (our) face,'' Jets linebacker Calvin Pace said.

Sanchez, the No. 5 pick overall in 2009, now has 24 turnovers this season and 50 total in the past two seasons combined. Sanchez was curt in speaking to reporters after going 13 of 28 for 131 yards and a 32.6 passer rating.

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

Now Ryan has to decide which quarterback to start Sunday when the Jets host San Diego, and he didn't give any hints Monday night. Sanchez said he will prepare as the starter and see what happens.

Backup quarterback Tim Tebow played a full series in a move Sanchez said Ryan planned before the game, picking up a couple of first downs and getting sacked before a punt. Greg McElroy, who came on in relief when Sanchez was benched Dec. 2 and led the Jets to a 7-6 win over Arizona, was inactive with the Jets keeping six receivers on a banged-up unit.

Ryan refused to say if he regretted not activating McElroy.

``I just regret not winning this game,'' Ryan said. ``I think that's the big thing.''

The Jets made sure Tennessee didn't score a point off all those turnovers. Chris Johnson ran 94 yards in the second quarter for the longest rushing touchdown in the NFL since 2006, and Jake Locker scored on a 13-yard quarterback sweep at the end of the third quarter for all the points Tennessee (5-9) needed.

The Titans snapped a three-game skid by also getting four sacks and Jason McCourty and Michael Griffin each had two interceptions. The Tennessee defense came in giving up 29.9 points in the NFL, more than all but Oakland coming into this week, and they held the Jets to 254 yards.

That helped Tennessee to its first win since Nov. 11 at Miami.

``The bottom line is we hung in there, something we haven't been able to do the last two, three weeks of hold onto a lead or find a way to win in the fourth quarter, and this time we did,'' Titans coach Mike Munchak said. ``It's good to win again. It's been a while.''

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 ``RIP SHES'' and a cross written on each shoe, calling it a way to pay tribute to the hurting families. The Jets had an ``SHES'' decal on their helmets.

The Titans running back ran for 122 yards and got most of it on his franchise-record TD run when he went untouched, taking advantage of a block by Kyle DeVan, who replaced Kevin Matthews at center after he sprained his right ankle in the first quarter.

I just read it and stayed with it and cut back through the offensive line, that's when I saw the daylight,'' Johnson said.

NOTES: The Jets also had five turnovers in their Thanksgiving night loss to New England. Sanchez had two in that game. ... The Titans' 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, on Dec. 13, 1964. ... Chester Taylor had a 95-yard TD in a 31-13 victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Oct. 22, 2006. ... The Jets had won the last two and four of the past five meetings between the teams. ... Braylon Edwards, claimed off waivers last Tuesday by the Jets, caught three passes for 47 yards.

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Report: Ravens add Kenjon Barner to crowded running back room

Report: Ravens add Kenjon Barner to crowded running back room

The Ravens running back room has suddenly become a tad more crowded.

Baltimore has reportedly signed seven-year veteran Kenjon Barner, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

The addition of Barner likely has little to do with Baltimore's plan on offense, as Mark Ingram and rookie J.K. Dobbins are expected to carry the bulk of the Ravens' rushing attack.

Barner, a former star at the University of Oregon, spent the past year with the Atlanta Falcons as the team's primary returner. For Baltimore, bringing in a guy like Barner makes sense, as one of the team's primary return men from a year ago, De'Anthony Thomas, decided to opt-out of the 2020 season.

The signing of Barner is a low-risk, high-reward one for Baltimore. Rookie James Proche is also expected to be in the mix in the return game.

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Ravens coach John Harbaugh: ‘I can’t imagine there’s any safer place than an NFL football team right now’

Ravens coach John Harbaugh: ‘I can’t imagine there’s any safer place than an NFL football team right now’

Ravens coach John Harbaugh hasn’t been shy on his feelings about the NFL’s coronavirus protocols. He said in June, and repeated Friday, they’re impossible to follow to a T. 

But he’s also very confident in the ability of NFL teams to create a safe and productive environment during a global pandemic. 

Harbaugh said that compared to the rest of the country, most players are safer at facilities with their teams than at their homes.

“I can’t imagine there’s any safer place than an NFL football team right now, an NBA basketball bubble,” Harbaugh said. “We’re pretty darn safe. If you want to rank them, we’re all in the top five across the country. We’re right up there with anybody. We get tested every day and we are wearing masks everywhere.”

The Ravens, by all accounts, have done well making sure their facility in Owings Mills is not only following protocols for players and coaches, but also making sure it’s as easy a transition as possible. 

Rookie linebacker Patrick Queen said last week that players are constantly being reminded to wear their masks, wash their hands and keep distance from one another.

“All you can do is the best you can do and mitigate it to a great extent,” Harbaugh said. “I think we’ve done a really good job of that so far, there are no guarantees going forward. We’ve got to stay vigilant like we’ve done.”

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The Ravens have had just two players opt out of the upcoming season — wide receiver/kick returner De’Anthony Thomas and tackle Andre Smith — but it was certainly a conversation for a lot of players in the locker room. 

Most notably, defensive lineman Calais Campbell.

“I definitely considered (opting out). You have to,” Campbell said. “You can’t play football with this going on and not think about the risk you’re going to put on yourself and your family. Going through that process, I realized talking to the doctors and just setting up the protocols and other things we have to do to keep each other safe, I felt like the risks were mitigated the best we can.”

Campbell, who was acquired from the Jaguars in a trade in March, is set to turn 34-years-old on Sept. 1 and has asthma. 

The five-time Pro Bowl selection would have been one of the most notable names in the league to voluntarily opt out of the 2020 season. But with the protocols in place, he felt safer about his participation. 

One topic of discussion for the Ravens and their protocols, too, has been the option of quarantining a specific group of players to prevent a spread. 

Likely, those players would be at positions of extreme value — like quarterback — or players where backups aren’t readily available — like kicker. It just so happens that the Ravens have two of the league’s best players at those positions in Lamar Jackson and Justin Tucker. 

But as Harbaugh said, each move comes with a consequence, and that includes the “safer” option of quarantining the entire league.

“For instance, if you were going to quarantine the NFL for six months, yeah, if you were a doctor, you’d say, ‘Yeah, we want the best chance to keep everyone safe and healthy,’” Harbaugh said. “That would be great, but I kind of want to see my wife at some point in time in the next six months, and she doesn’t have coronavirus. So you’ve got to live with a certain amount of risk in order to live your life. We don’t want to forfeit all these guys' lives and they’re not willing to do it.”

Which means, for now, the players at the facility have assumed a level of risk for the upcoming season.

With the Ravens’ protocols in place, however, it’s all about minimizing those risks as much as possible.

“I put a lot of thought into it on my own, too, with my own underlying issues,” Campbell said. “I’m pretty confident in my ability to follow the rules.”

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