With the score tied 20-20 and time running out in the fourth quarter in Sunday’s AFC Championship game, Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes took off on a third-down play near midfield and was close to picking up a fresh set of downs when he headed out of bounds and was hit by Cincinnati Bengal Joseph Ossai. The hit by Ossai sent the star QB sprawling into the bench and landed the Chiefs a 15-yard penalty that made it easy for Kansas City kicker Harrison Butker to boot the game-winning field goal to send his team to the Super Bowl.
As the Chiefs were celebrating their win, Ossai was in tears on the bench.
Afterward, when the teams headed from the field to the locker room, Cincy linebacker Germaine Pratt was caught on camera cursing Ossai for his late hit on Patrick Mahomes. “Why the fuck would you touch the quarterback?” he screamed to no one in particular as the Bengals entered the locker room.
After the clip of Pratt cursing Ossai went viral, Pratt responded to a video of the moment with a comment on Instagram.
“Yep ppl will post anything on social media for likes and views,” he wrote. “I have real feelings sometimes they are raw. If you love something as much I do sometimes things will be said in the heated of the moment. But I know what type of teammate I am. And what type of man I am. Trust me no love lost Im hurt. Remember some ppl with hate you, rate you and shake you and try to break you but I will stand tall like always.”
In stark contrast to Pratt, Ossai’s teammate B.J. Hill stood by him as he answered questions from reporters in the locker room after the game. Asked about his thoughts on the play, the Bengals defensive tackle said he had no problem with what Ossai did on the field. “I’m not going to put up with questions saying it’s all his fault. We’ve got each other’s back. It takes a whole team. It’s a group effort,” Hill said. “I don’t have [any] hard feelings about that play at all because I knew what his intention was: just to play hard.”
A third-round pick out of Texas in the 2021 NFL Draft, Ossai indicated more of his teammates have been like Hill than Pratt. “These guys mean a lot to me and to know that they have my back is extremely…it’s giving me peace right now,” he said following the loss. “It was great to have the support of my teammates. I’ve got to learn from experience and I’ve got to know not to get close to that quarterback when he’s close to that sideline. I’ve got to do better.”
Either way, the game is over and the Bengals are eliminated from the postseason. Earlier in the day, the 49ers were eliminated as well, meaning the Philadelphia Eagles will take on the Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium in Arizona on February 12. This is Kansas City’s third trip to the Super Bowl in four seasons.