The absurd mistake of Joseph Ossai that gave the Kansas City Chiefs their pass to the Super Bowl

Joseph Ossai (58) committed  an infraction on Patrick Mahomes (15) that finished  for costing the Bengals the game (Photo by: William Purnell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Joseph Ossai (58) committed a foul on Patrick Mahomes (15) that ended up costing the Bengals the game (Photo by: William Purnell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Joseph Ossai played his second season at the highest level that the NFL represents. It could be said that he still has the experience of a rookie and that cost him dearly in a match that could only be defined as it was done. Ossai ended up committing a punishment in the last moments of the American Conference final and gave the direct pass to Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs for Super Bowl LVII.

The defensive end of the Cincinnati Bengals spent the entire game putting pressure on a prodigious Chiefs offensive line, which on multiple occasions committed illegal actions to stop defensive attacks and that the referees did not notice. Mahomes, in repeated plays, had to get out of his pocket before the overwhelming proximity of the defenders. Those same actions made the Kansas City QB have to carry the ball and gain yards on the ground, something that benefited Cincinnati. The play that changed the course of the match came when there were 10 seconds left in the last quarter on the scoreboard.

Joseph Ossai (58) pushed  Mahomes (15) on the sidelines (Photo by: Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports)

Joseph Ossai (58) pushed Mahomes (15) into the side of the field (Photo by: Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports)

The game was tied at 20 points. Kansas got its last play at the 47-yard line of Cincinnati territory, with a third down and four yards to go. It seemed almost impossible that from that position they could score or make a field goal attempt of more than 50 yards, so the game could go to overtime. It was almost a given.

Mahomes got the snap, found no open receiver at the time and came out of the bag to reach the first-and-ten mark. He managed it by running towards the side of the field, but with his feet off the ground he received a push in the back from Ossai. The punishment was clear and the defender gave the Chiefs 15 more yards for their lack of concentration. There is no further explanation, the game was given by Ossai. These types of plays are common throughout the regular season, without major concerns. However, it can hardly happen in a frenetic match where the pass to the final game is disputed. The defensive end’s inexperience ate him up in the blink of an eye. The pressure for what is at stake, the slogan of hitting one of the best passers in the league or simple frustration adhered to the Joseph uniform.

The referees did not hesitate to launch a shower of yellow handkerchiefs to infringe. The clock, which was stopped by the actions and departure of Mahomes, kept its last breath with eight seconds left. The QB of the Chiefs did not hesitate and sent the indication to his bench so that Harrison Butker closed the match with a 45-yard field goal, and thus it was fulfilled. While everyone was settling in for the field goal, Arrowhead Stadium celebrated that their team will once again be a star for the third time in the last four years in the Super Bowl. At the same time, a gray cloud found a hole over the Bengals’ bench, specifically over Joseph Ossai who clearly suffered the consequences of his act. The defender tried to hide his crying with his helmet and the balaclava that covered him from the cold, but his suffering was imminent.

The clock ticked on and it was all over. The Bengals marched towards their locker room and in the midst of a deathly silenceThe angry shouts of linebacker Jermaine Pratt were heard, who was totally upset by his teammate’s mistake: “It is not good (Ossai). This is my last fucking year here (he’s a free agent). Why did he have to touch the QB?

After several minutes, the media poured into the Bengals’ locker room, where the main focus was on Ossai. Among the tears that still invaded him, he gave a statement about what happened: “This is very hard. I have to learn from this experience, I have to be better…he was in chase mode and trying to pressure him (Mahomes) to maybe back off, make the clock tick. He didn’t know how out of bounds we were.”

The rivalry between both teams will take more season in the coming years. By itself, this duel is already taking a different course from the rest due to its star QB. By the way, this is the first matchup, of four, in which Mahomes got the better of Joe Burrow. Both quarterbacks are committed to keeping their teams in the spotlight, so there’s no doubt that if both maintain their roster structure, they could meet again next year in the postseason. The Bengals flew home, while Andy Reid and his Chiefs prepare for the final challenge.


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