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Joseph Ossai was flagged for unnecessary roughness in the final seconds as the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 to win the AFC Championship Game and advance to the Super Bowl
Last Updated: 30/01/23 12:06pm
A tearful Joseph Ossai had to be consoled on the sideline by Cincinnati Bengals team-mates and coaches on Sunday after giving up the penalty that would pave the way for the Kansas City Chiefs’ game-winning field goal in the AFC Championship Game.
Ossai was flagged for unnecessary roughness with 17 seconds to play and the scores tied at 20-20 after shoving Patrick Mahomes after he had gone out of bounds at the sideline while trying to scramble for a third-and-four conversion.
The resulting 15-yard penalty set up Harrison Butker’s 45-yard field goal with three seconds on the clock to send the Chiefs to the Super Bowl, where they will meet the Philadelphia Eagles following their victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
“I’ve just got to learn from experience. I gotta know not to get close to that quarterback when he’s close to that sideline if it’s anything that could possibly cause a penalty in a dire situation like that. I gotta do better,” said Ossai post-game.
“I was just in full chase mode,” Ossai said. “I was trying to push him, maybe get him going backwards because I knew he was going for that sideline. I was trying to make him go backwards, get that clock running. I haven’t seen it yet. I don’t know how far out of bounds we were.”
Ossai was accompanied by a supporting team-mate BJ Hill while facing questions from local media at his locker after the game, Hill shutting down an initial question about the incident before insisting Ossai had “played his butt off the whole game”.
Meanwhile, emotions appeared to get the better of linebacker Germaine Pratt, who was filmed shouting ‘Why did you touch the quarterback?” while on his way back to the Bengals locker room.
Bengals head coach Zac Taylor offered support for Ossai after seeing the second-year pass rusher produce five tackles, one tackle for loss, one pass defense, two pressures, two quarterback hits and a run stuff.
“This is emotional. We worked really hard to get here,” said Taylor. “Any play that people feel like was left out there, you’re going to take it hard. We want guys like that, that this means a lot to. They care about it, care about their team-mates. Joseph comes to work every day; he loves being a part of this team.”
Ossai was a third-round Draft pick out of Texas back in 2021 but missed his entire rookie season due to a meniscus injury suffered during preseason.
The 22-year-old expressed his gratitude for the comforting words he had received from his Bengals team-mates in the immediate aftermath.
“These guys mean a lot to me and to know that they have my back is giving me peace right now,” Ossai said. “It was great to have the support of my team-mates.”