Bengals’ Ossai laments late hit in AFC title loss to Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Joseph Ossai stood in entrance of his clean-out locker inside Arrowhead Stadium, whereas Bengals teammate B.J. Hill stood by for help, and lamented a mistake Sunday night time that might simply hang-out the defensive finish for the remainder of his profession.

The Kansas Metropolis Chiefs had been driving for a possible successful subject purpose within the AFC championship sport when Ossai, a second-year professional, gave chase to scrambling Patrick Mahomes. Each had been working at full velocity when the All-Professional quarterback made it to the Cincinnati sideline, the place Ossai gave a push from behind the despatched Mahomes sprawling to the bottom.

Penalty flags flew and Ossai knew instantly what he had finished.

The 15-yard penalty for a late hit was sufficient to provide Harrison Butker a field-goal likelihood, and the Chiefs’ big-legged kicker barely coaxed the ball over the crossbar, giving Kansas Metropolis a 23-20 victory and a berth within the Tremendous Bowl.

“I used to be simply in full chase mode and pushing to possibly get him going backwards, as a result of I knew he was going for the sideline, so make him go backwards and get that clock working,” Ossai stated. “I did not understand how far out of bounds we had been.”

It was sufficient that the flag was indeniable.

Making issues worse, Ossai lay in a heap on the sideline as Mahomes trotted again to the sector. He wound up hurting his proper knee on the play, and an MRI examination is due Monday to find out the character and extent of the damage.

“I’ve simply acquired to be taught from expertise and know to not get near that quarterback when he is near the sideline,” stated Ossai, who had performed effectively as much as the final minute of the sport, and bravely answered questions from reporters afterward.

“If there’s something that might presumably trigger a penalty within the dire state of affairs like that,” he stated, “I’ve acquired to do higher.”

Not everybody on the Cincinnati sideline was supportive after Ossai’s mistake. TV cameras caught linebacker Germaine Pratt asking with an expletive why he was even close to Mahomes at that time within the sport. However a lot of the Bengals had been prepared to face by Ossai’s facet, even batting away questions that they did not like within the postgame locker room.

“There have been a variety of different performs that might have turned the tide in that sport in a single second, in order that’s not the one one,” stated Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, who was sacked 5 occasions and threw a pair of interceptions within the loss.

“That is emotional. We labored actually laborious to get right here,” added Bengals coach Zac Taylor. “Any play that individuals really feel like was left on the market, you’re going to take it laborious. We would like guys like that, that this implies loads to. They care about it, care about their teammates. Joseph involves work on daily basis; he loves being part of this group.”

Ossai’s profession has been a tough one to date. He was a third-round choose of the Bengals out of Texas in 2021, however a meniscus damage in his second preseason sport landed him on injured reserve for the season. The Nigeria native returned this season and appeared in 16 regular-season video games, making simply 17 tackles to associate with 3 1/2 sacks.

But by the way in which teammates gathered round him Sunday, it was clear his angle and perseverance had gained them over.

“We’re one huge household. It’s not faux. When the going will get robust, we carry one another up,” he stated. “I’m simply comfortable I’ve acquired these group of men round me, supporting me proper now, as a result of it’s laborious. There’s a bunch of men in that room that I’m very grateful for, B.J. being considered one of them. Plenty of older ones. They’ve finished a great job taking us beneath their wings.”


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