The Cincinnati Bengals have Joseph Ossai’s back. The rookie defensive end was called for a penalty with just seconds to play as he shoved Patrick Mahomes out of bounds, giving the Kansas City Chiefs the yardage necessary to kick in the game-winning field goal and punch their ticket to the Super Bowl.
Ossai was seen by many, unfairly or not, as the scapegoat for the loss. But he was a defensive force all night prior to that costly error, blowing up several Chiefs plays on various drives. His Bengals teammates know they wouldn’t have been in the position to win without him, which is why they stood by him the moment that the buzzer sounded and as Twitter buzzed with vitriol being hurled at the 22-year-old rookie.
Teammates Cam Sample and Sam Hubbard sat with the beleaguered youngster, offering warm words in what was a cold ending to the game.
Cam Sample came over to console Joseph Ossai after Ossai had a costly penalty on the Chiefs' game-winning drive. Teammate. pic.twitter.com/0h1iOfAUo1
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) January 30, 2023
Teammates consoling Ossai at the end and BJ Hill stood right next to him for post game comments #WhoDey pic.twitter.com/noFxhH42Tg
— Mark Slaughter (@MarkVSlaughter) January 30, 2023
Veteran tackle BJ Hill stood right beside Joseph Ossai as a slew of reporters surrounded him for a postgame interview. Hill even turned down one question for Ossai that he felt did nothing but add insult to injury in that moment.
This was the scene at Joseph Ossai’s locker with BJ Hill stepping in to provide support https://t.co/8vn1OOlhOQ pic.twitter.com/nbUnoCkzfp
— Michael Niziolek (@michaelniziolek) January 30, 2023
It doesn’t get easier for Joseph Ossai from now until the start of next season. While he certainly deserves blame for the costly foul on Patrick Mahomes, the game was lost on far more than just one play. The Bengals rookie will want nothing more than to erase the final play from memory the next time he steps onto the field.