Driving downfield to Tennessee's 23-yard-line for a comeback in the final two minutes, quarterback Mark Sanchez tossed his fourth and final interception of the night in one of the worst outings of his career.
A dreadful Titans punt gave the Jets one more possession starting at Tennessee's 32, only to end their season with a fumbled snap.
"I saw him bobbling the snap, then it just came out and I just fell on it," Titans linebacker Zach Brown said. "I was thinking I'm going to get a sack, but he fumbled the snap."
The Jets (6-8) had won two straight games to revive their slim chance of reaching the post-season, but they flamed out in Tennessee (5-9) while the struggling Titans snapped their three-game losing streak.
Chris Johnson provided the game's lone highlight with a 94-yard touchdown burst that gave Tennessee a 7-3 lead at halftime. He finished with 122 yards rushing.
New York struck back in the third quarter where Sanchez found Jeff Cumberland on a 17-yard strike, but the home team reclaimed the advantage on a 13-yard run by Titans quarterback Jake Locker.
Sanchez, who has been under fire this season for his poor performance and was pulled mid-game two weeks ago, connected on just 13 of 28 passes for 131 yards in a season-defining failure.
Receiver Braylon Edwards made his 2012 debut for New York. A favorite target of Sanchez's two years ago, he had three catches for 47 yards on Monday.
After reaching the AFC championship consecutive seasons in 2009 and 2010, New York has now missed the playoffs in two straight campaigns and changes may be on the horizon.
"I'm not ready to say who will be our quarterback for the next game," said Jets coach Rex Ryan. "We had a chance to win it at the end (if not for the turnovers). It's extremely disappointing to say the least."
Tennessee's second-year quarterback Jake Locker threw for just 149 yards but avoided any turnovers.