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 assist, and lamented a mistake Sunday evening that might simply hang-out the defensive finish for the remainder of his profession.

The Kansas Metropolis Chiefs have been driving for a possible profitable discipline purpose within the AFC championship recreation when Ossai, a second-year professional, gave chase to scrambling Patrick Mahomes. Each have been operating 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 accomplished.

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 operating,” Ossai mentioned. “I did not understand how far out of bounds we have 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 harm.

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“I’ve simply bought to study from expertise and know to not get near that quarterback when he is near the sideline,” mentioned Ossai, who had performed nicely 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 mentioned, “I’ve bought 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 recreation. However many of the Bengals have 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 numerous different performs that might have turned the tide in that recreation in a single second, in order that’s not the one one,” mentioned Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, who was sacked 5 occasions and threw a pair of interceptions within the loss.

“That is emotional. We labored actually exhausting 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 exhausting. We would like guys like that, that this implies lots to. They care about it, care about their teammates. Joseph involves work daily; he loves being part of this crew.”

Ossai’s profession has been a tough one to this point. He was a third-round choose of the Bengals out of Texas in 2021, however a meniscus harm in his second preseason recreation 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.

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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 massive household. It’s not pretend. When the going will get robust, we raise one another up,” he mentioned. “I’m simply glad I’ve bought these group of fellows round me, supporting me proper now, as a result of it’s exhausting. There’s a bunch of fellows in that room that I’m very grateful for, B.J. being one among them. Plenty of older ones. They’ve accomplished a very good job taking us beneath their wings.”


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