After falling short against the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday, the Cincinnati Bengals’ emotions were raw. Not only did they narrowly miss winning another Super Bowl, but some players on the team appeared to be annoyed by how it happened.
The Chiefs were in position to come into field goal range and kick the game-winning field goal after the Chiefs were punted the ball back with 30 seconds remaining in regulation, the score knotted at 20, and K.C. receiving the ball near midfield. At the Bengals’ 47-yard line, Patrick Mahomes scampered up the right side of the field for five yards on a third-and-4 try. Joseph Ossai of the Bengals was called for unnecessary roughness on Mahomes after pushing the quarterback toward the benches when he was already well outside the boundaries as the QB sprinted to the sideline.
The Chiefs gained an additional 15 yards as a result. The very next play, they lined up for Harrison Butker to try a 45-yard field goal, and the kicker made it to help K.C. advance to the Super Bowl.
After the game, linebacker Germaine Pratt was heard shouting at Ossai, “Why the [expletive] did you touch the quarterback?” in reference to the penalty that led to the game-winning field goal.
Then, Pratt clarified this incident on social media, writing, “My emotions are sometimes raw and genuine. Sometimes things will be spoken in anger if you love something as much as I do. But I am aware of the kind of teammate I am. What kind of a man I am, too. No love is gone, yet I’m wounded. Keep in mind that some people may despise you, hold you in low regard, and try to break you, but I will continue to maintain my ground.”
Pratt reminisced about his famous moment on Monday as the Bengals cleaned out their lockers in preparation for the summer “I had feelings. I was there right now. I was mistaken. In that situation, I wasn’t a terrific teammate.”
After the penalty, Ossai was visibly distraught on the pitch, but a number of his teammates gathered and made an effort to comfort him. Following the game, head coach Zac Taylor added that the outcome of the conference championship game was not decided by a single play.