Zac Taylor, Bengals defend Joseph Ossai after costly penalty

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A self-inflicted mistake by defensive end Joseph Ossai may have cost the Cincinnati Bengals an AFC title and a trip to the Super Bowl, but their coach doesn’t want to pin their 23-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on one play.

Zac Taylor deflected the blame from Ossai, who hit Patrick Mahomes after he went out of bounds with eight seconds left, drawing a 15-yard penalty to set up the Chiefs for a 45-yard field goal that win the match

“We’re not going to do it in one play,” Taylor told CBS Sports. “There were a lot of plays we left out on the field today that could have put us in a better position.

“It’s tough. One play. It didn’t come down to that.”

Taylor also showed respect for Ossai’s passion for the game.

“Joseph comes to work every day, man,” Taylor said. “He loves the ball. He loves being a part of this team. It didn’t come down to that play.”

Ossai was clearly upset with himself after the play ended, sitting on the bench with his head down well after Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker made the game-winning field goal. While linebacker Jermaine Pratt was heard screaming “Why the [expletive] did he touch the quarterback?” as the Bengals walked to the locker room, many of Ossai’s teammates came to his side after the tough play.

Defensive end Cam Sample sat next to Ossai on the bench after the game to console him, as did other members of the Bengals.

As Ossai answered questions from the media at his locker, defensive tackle BJ Hill stood by his side.

“It means the world to me,” Ossai said of the support he received from his teammates. “These guys mean a lot to me. We come in every day and we work hard for each other, knowing that they have my back is giving me right now, for sure.”

Rookie cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt also provided some defense for Ossai.

“It’s not up to him,” Taylor-Britt said. “When you go that fast, you just don’t know. We got a lot of crazy calls at the end.”

Joe Burrow remarked on the magnitude of Ossai’s mistake.

“There were a lot of plays other than that that could have turned the game around and won us the game, so it wasn’t the only one,” Burrow said.

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