A Moment That Adds To Patrick Mahomes’ Legacy And Leaves Bengals’ Joseph Ossai Sobbing

Videos by OutKick

KANSAS CITY — In the crucible of a tie game with a Super Bowl berth at stake, we witnessed the singular moment that lifted up one man as a hero and drove another man to tears.

This AFC Championship Game game goes into the record books as a 23-20 Kansas City Chiefs victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

But it goes into our memory as that scramble in the final 17 seconds by Patrick Mahomes. And that out of bounds push of Mahomes by Bengals linebacker Joseph Ossai that added a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty.

The play defined the game. And, like it or not, the players.

“It adds to his great legacy,” Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said of how the play will forever be attached to Mahomes.

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – JANUARY 29: Joe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals carries the ball against the Kansas City Chiefs during the third quarter in the AFC Championship Game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on January 29, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)

Mahomes Performs Despite Serious Injury

To put that in context, you must understand Mahomes played this game with a high right ankle sprain that often forces a typical player to miss 2-to-4 weeks.

But there was Mahomes at the end of this one, unexpectedly running on that play, adding to the litany of game-winning moments he’s had in his already generational career.

“Throughout the game I tried to do whatever I could to win,” Mahomes said. “And, obviously, there were times you could see it wouldn’t let me do what I wanted to. But I was able to do enough on that last play to get a first down and get myself out of bounds and try to get Harrison [Butker] a chance to win. And obviously we got the flag and he pushed me pretty late there.”

The 9-yard run by Mahomes and 15 yard penalty put the Chiefs in field goal range. Butker kicked the winning 45-yard field goal. That kick sent the Chiefs hurtling toward a Super Bowl date with the Philadelphia Eagles in two weeks.

And it sent Ossai into the somber losing locker room where he sobbed.

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – JANUARY 29: Head coach Zac Taylor of the Cincinnati Bengals looks on during the third quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on January 29, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Joseph Ossai Explains What He Was Doing

“I was just in full chase mode and I was trying to push him to maybe get him going backwards,” Ossai said, his eye reddened by his tears. “Because I knew he was going for that sideline, maybe get him going backwards and get that clock running. I haven’t seen it yet. I didn’t know how far out of bounds we were.”

Nobody questioned whether the flag was questionable. Mahomes is a quarterback who was out of bounds and Ossai pushed him.

End of controversy.

The question in the Bengals locker room was how much blame Ossai’s teammates would allow him to take.

Defensive tackle B.J. Hill stood next to Ossai as he answered questions to support him but also protecting him from taking too much heat.

“He played his butt off the whole game,” Hill told one reporter. “Ask a different question.”

Ossai clearly appreciated the support he got from Hill as well as coach Zac Taylor who earlier told him the play was not the reason the Bengals lost. Even if it actually was.

“It was great knowing I had the support of my teammates and I got to learn from the experience,” Ossai said. “I got to know I can’t get close to that quarterback when he’s close to that sideline if there’s anything that can cause a penalty. In a dire situation like that I got to do better.”

KANSAS CITY, MO – JANUARY 21: Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) comes up limping in the first quarter of an AFC divisional playoff game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs on January 21, 2023 at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Mahomes Play Sends Chiefs To Super Bowl

In that dire situation Mahomes didn’t expect to perform. He had already thrown for 328 yards and 2 TDs without an interception. But the ankle injury kept reminding him he couldn’t scramble.

“I didn’t expect to be able to run very much, just from the way it felt,” said Mahomes who had only 8 rushing yards total on 3 attempts. “I tried to a couple of times in the game when I tried to get through spots I could usually get through but you could see I just didn’t have that burst.

“So I got he ball out of my hands quickly and I threw a couple of more check downs than I usually would throw. I relied on my teammates to make the plays happen and that’s what they did.”

Until that last play. That was all Mahomes. And Ossai.

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

Leave a Reply