The emotions were raw on the part of the Cincinnati Bengals in the aftermath of losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday. Not only did they fall just short of reaching another Super Bowl, but how it occurred seemed to frustrate some on the roster.
After punting the ball back to the Chiefs with 30 seconds left in regulation, the score tied at 20, and K.C. getting the ball at midfield, the stage was set for them to move within field goal range and boot the game-winner. On a third-and-4 attempt at the Bengals 47-yard line, Patrick Mahomes scrambled up the right side of the field for five yards. As the quarterback scampered to the sideline, Bengals defensive end Joseph Ossai was flagged for unnecessary roughness on Mahomes after shoving him toward the benches when he was already well out of bounds.
Mahomes gives it his all for the first down!— NFL (@NFL) January 30, 2023
📺: #CINvsKC on CBS
📱: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/fM5ertlhHi pic.twitter.com/z78Phcfkyp
That tacked on 15 yards for the Chiefs, who would line up for a 45-yard field goal attempt for Harrison Butker on the very next play, and the kicker connected to help send K.C. to the Super Bowl.
As the Bengals departed to the locker room following the loss, linebacker Germaine Pratt could be seen yelling at Ossai, saying, "Why the [expletive] did you touch the quarterback?" in reference to the penalty that set up the game-winner.
Jermaine Pratt visibly upset with the ending of that game- particularly with the roughing the passer on Joseph Ossai that got the Chiefs in comfortable FG range to win the game #bengals #AFCChampionshipGame pic.twitter.com/02JR77QgG7— Katie Kapusta (@KatieKapustaTV) January 30, 2023
Pratt then explained this moment on social media saying, "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 I'm hurt. Remember some ppl with hate you, rate you and shake you and try to break you but I will stand tall like always."
On Monday as the Bengals cleared out their lockers in preparation for the offseason, Pratt reflected again regarding his viral moment saying: "I was emotional. I was in the moment. I was wrong. … I wasn't a great teammate in that moment."
As for Ossai, he was noticeably upset on the field in the aftermath of the penalty, but several teammates rallied around and tried to console him. Head coach Zac Taylor also said postgame that one play did not determine the outcome of this conference title game.