Germaine Pratt on postgame comments: I have real feelings, sometimes they are raw

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Video of Bengals linebacker Germaine Pratt‘s immediate response to the team’s 23-20 AFC Championship Game loss to the Chiefs went viral on Sunday night.

Pratt was filmed walking into the locker room while asking “why the fuck did you touch the quarterback” in response to defensive end Joseph Ossai‘s late hit on Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The penalty gave the Chiefs 15 yards and set up Harrison Butker‘s game-winning field goal in the final seconds.

It was an emotional response to a painful moment, which Pratt explained in a comment on an Instagram post that included video of his outburst.

“Yep ppl will post anything on social media for likes and views,” Pratt wrote. “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 Im hurt. Remember some ppl with hate you, rate you and shake you and try to break you but I will stand tall like always.”

Bengals head coach Zac Taylor, defensive tackle BJ Hill and others were quick to say that Ossai’s play was not the sole reason why the Bengals lost on Sunday and the team will have plenty of time to reflect on everything that didn’t go their way before they return to the football field.

BJ Hill on Joseph Ossai: One play doesn’t define who you are

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Bengals defensive end Joseph Ossai found himself in the spotlight at the end of Sunday night’s loss to the Chiefs because his late hit on Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes helped set the stage for Kansas City’s game-winning field goal in the final seconds.

Ossai faced the music for his penalty in the locker room after the game and said that “in a situation like that I’ve got to be better.” Defensive tackle BJ Hill was standing alongside Ossai when he met the media and said that he would continue to stand up for his teammate because one play did not decide the game or define Ossai as a player.

“Because he’s my brother,” Hill said, via the team’s website. “The same thing happened to me a few years ago. I had a chance to win a game and I missed a sack. One person does not lose a game. That’s not going to fly with me. Especially on this team. A great group of guys. He had a great year. One play doesn’t define who you are. That play right there, he was playing his butt off. He practices how he plays. No hard feelings about that play. He was playing all out.”

Ossai and the Bengals will have a long wait before they’re able to get back on the field and memories of Sunday night’s finish will linger until they are playing football again.

Jimmy Garoppolo: I wish I had a helmet on Sunday

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After injuries to Brock Purdy and Josh Johnson, the 49ers were left without a functioning quarterback in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game loss to the Eagles.

Purdy had to return to the game after Johnson suffered a concussion, but he couldn’t throw the ball and the 49ers’ one-dimensional offense couldn’t do anything to get them back into what would turn out to be a 31-7 loss. There was a third quarterback on the sideline for the 49ers, but Jimmy Garoppolo was not in uniform.

Garoppolo fractured his foot and he was not cleared to return ahead of the game in Philadelphia. After it was over, Garoppolo was left to lament his role as an observer.

“I wish I had a helmet,” Garoppolo said, via Jennifer Lee Chan of NBCSportsBayArea.com.

Garoppolo was expected to move on last year after the 49ers moved to Trey Lance as their starter, but shoulder surgery helped keep him on the roster and he wound up as the starter for most of the season due to Lance’s broken ankle. He’s now set for free agency this offseason and the 49ers are set for more decisions about how to move forward at quarterback after the disappointing end to their season.

Patrick Mahomes: I definitely didn’t feel good, but did enough on that last play

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One of the biggest storylines heading into the AFC Championship Game was how Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes would fare with the high ankle sprain he suffered in the team’s divisional round win over the Jaguars.

Mahomes practiced all week and wasn’t on the team’s final injury report, but it was obvious at various points in Sunday’s game that he was still dealing with pain in the ankle. That didn’t stop him from throwing for 326 yards and two touchdowns and it didn’t stop him from scrambling for a first down with seconds to play in the game.

Bengals defensive end Joseph Ossai tacked 15 yards onto Mahomes’ run by hitting him out of bounds and Harrison Butker hit the game-winning field goal on the next snap. After the game, Mahomes reflected on how he got through the game.

“I just tried to do whatever I could to win, and obviously, there were times where you could see that it wouldn’t let me do what I wanted to,” Mahomes said, via Adam Teicher of ESPN.com. “But I was able to do enough on that last play to get the first down and get myself out of bounds and try to give Harrison the chance to win. Obviously, we got the flag, and [Ossai] pushed me, pushed me pretty late there. I definitely didn’t feel good. I think the worst one was when I fumbled. I tried to pick it up, and that was probably the worst I tweaked it during the game. They got me close as they could to 100 percent. Then I just battled through, and I’ll have a few more weeks to get it ready.”

Mahomes survived on Sunday at less than full strength and he and the rest of the Chiefs will be hoping the extended time off before the Super Bowl is enough time for things to get closer to normal.

Chris Jones: Don’t ever disrespect Arrowhead Stadium

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Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones made it clear that he heard what the Bengals were saying in the days leading up to the AFC Championship Game during his Friday media availability.

Jones ended his time at the podium by saying “see y’all at Burrowhead Stadium” in reference to the Bengals suggestion that Joe Burrow had taken ownership of the Chiefs with three wins over the last two seasons. Jones went back to that well during an on-field interview with James Palmer of NFL Media after his two sacks and constant pressure on Burrow played a leading role in the Chiefs’ 23-20 win.

“Don’t ever, ever, ever — I’m going to look right into the camera when I say this — disrespect Arrowhead,” Jones said. “I don’t care how many times you beat us. Don’t ever disrespect Arrowhead Stadium.”

Jones did not have a playoff sack before the start of Sunday’s game, but he came up big against the Bengals to make sure that Cincinnati’s winning streak over the Chiefs came to a halt. He’ll try to add to that total against the Eagles and the Chiefs will host the Bengals next season to renew the hottest current rivalry in the AFC.

Eagles two-point favorites over Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII

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The Eagles are the betting favorites in Super Bowl LVII.

After early line movement that saw the game as a pick ’em, then the Chiefs briefly favored by one point, at most sports books the line has now settled in at Eagles -2.

Only six Super Bowls have had a closing line of two points or less. This is one of the closest lines in Super Bowl history, and an indication that the betting community sees the Eagles and Chiefs as two fairly evenly matched teams.

The point total for the game has been set at over/under 49.5 points.

Referee Ron Torbert explains strange do-over situation in fourth quarter of Bengals-Chiefs

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The AFC Championship was nearly marred by a bizarre decision to wipe out a failed Kansas City third down in the fourth quarter. The drive eventually ended in a punt, not a score, making the moment less controversial.

It still was a mess.

After the game, referee Ron Torbert explained the decision that gave the Chiefs a do-over on third and nine.

“On the previous play, there was an incomplete pass,” Torbert told Ben Baby of ESPN.com. “We spotted the ball, but the line judge came in and re-spotted the ball because the spot was off. We reset the play clock and the game clock started running. It should not have started running because there was an incomplete pass on the previous play. The field judge noticed that the game clock was running. He was coming in to shut the play down so that we could get the clock fixed but nobody heard him, and the play was run. After the play was over, he came in and we discussed that he was trying to shut the play down before the ball had been snapped. So we reset the game clock back to where it was before that snap and replayed third down.”

Torbert went on to explain that this is the normal protocol for situations like this.

Basically, the clock operator screwed up. But the mistake could have been rectified after the fact, using video evidence to add the time back to the clock that was lost by the clock error.

Prediction? Someone will be reporting in the coming days that the league will look at this specific rule in the offseason, in order to come up with a better way to replace the lost seconds after the next play has begun. Mulligans should be used only as a last resort, to avoid something that can’t be fixed.

Like when a punt hits a Skycam cable. (Oh, wait.)

Key play included a missed holding penalty by Orlando Brown

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The late hit that gave the Chiefs 15 extra yards and a 45-yard game-winning field goal try came at the end of a play that began with something that has happened over and over in 2022.

Offensive holding. Not called.

Chiefs tackle Orlando Brown clearly held Bengals defensive end Trey Hendrickson. No flag was thrown.

It happens too often to be brushed off as gross incompetence. Between consistent failures to call holding and a rash of tackles starting into their pass-block set a split second before the snap without being called for illegal procedure, officials are making it easier for quarterbacks to operate by balancing out the simple fact that, currently, defensive linemen are bigger, faster, and/or stronger than the men trying to stop them from hitting the quarterback.

Remember the outcry over roughing the passer from October? NFL executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent candidly admitted that the officials overprotect quarterbacks because, without healthy quarterbacks, the games stink.

So, in addition to calling ticky-tack roughing penalties when quarterbacks get hit, the officials are looking the other way far too often on tactics that help keep quarterbacks from getting hit.

It’s why Joey Bosa blew a gasket two weeks ago. It happens over and over again.

In this instance, it should have been called.

Benglas linebacker Germaine Pratt: “Why the f–k would you touch the quarterback?”

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Multiple teammates consoled Bengals linebacker Joseph Ossai after he drew a late hit penalty that put the Chiefs in position for a field goal that delivered a Super Bowl berth for Kansas City. One teammate in particular was not pleased.

Linebacker Germaine Pratt was yelling on the way to the locker room about the foul.

“It’s the motherfuckin’ last series,” Pratt said to no one in particular. “What the fuck. Why the fuck did you touch the quarterback?”

In Ossai’s defense, he was in a tough spot. If he had pulled up while chasing Mahomes, who had surrendered all protections given to a passer when he became a runner, Mahomes could have ducked back inside and picked up more yards. That’s something we’ve seen quarterbacks do, time and again.

So Ossai kept going. How was he supposed to stop?

The end result was a shove. Mahomes wiped out, making it look even worse.

It would be naive to think quarterbacks don’t know how to time the collision just right to potentially draw those fouls. It’s a basic reality of the league’s obsession with keeping quarterbacks healthy.

The Bengals need to take the time to explain this to Pratt and anyone else in the locker room who may have a problem with Ossai. He was damned if he didn’t pursue Mahomes, and damned if he did.

Unless and until the league fully commits to fully regarding quarterbacks who become runners as something other than quarterbacks, things like this will happen.

It’s no one’s fault when it does. Ossai wasn’t going to pull up. And Mahomes, once he felt a shove on his back, wasn’t about to try to stay up. While not a flop in the soccer sense, Mahomes was smart to let the momentum take him to the ground.

Any smart quarterback would have done the same thing in that spot. And if Ossai had stopped running, any smart quarterback wouldn’t have run out of bounds.

In two weeks, Andy Reid faces the team that fired him 10 years ago

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Of the final four NFL teams, any combination would have been a great one in the Super Bowl.

This one may be the best.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid will be facing the team that fired him a decade ago, after 14 seasons as head coach of the Eagles. He quickly landed in Kansas City, and now he’ll go for his second Super Bowl win as the Eagles try to do the same thing.

It’s also the fourth career Super Bowl for Reid. He’s 1-3 in those games.

A win in Arizona over the Eagles would surely be the sweetest one yet for Reid, who will likely have several more chances with Patrick Mahomes as his quarterback — and with an organization that constantly puts high-end talent around him.

It will be Travis Kelce vs. Jason Kelce at Super Bowl LVII

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The Chiefs and Eagles are heading to the Super Bowl and that will make for some tough choices in the Kelce family.

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and Eagles center Jason Kelce will be on opposite sides in Arizona on February 12 as they both look for the second Super Bowl win of their career. It’s the most prominent battle of brothers in the Super Bowl since Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh faced off after the 2012 season.

Jason Kelce touched on the possibility of facing his brother after the Eagles’ 31-7 win over the 49ers on Sunday.

“Yup, I have a Kansas City sweatshirt that I will wear for the next three hours and that’s it for the rest of the year,” Kelce said. “Win or lose, I am done being a Chiefs fan in three hours. I am looking forward to see who wins that one. They are two really good teams. Not trying to get my hopes up, but we’ll see who we are playing.”

The Kelce vs. Kelce angle promises to join Andy Reid facing the Eagles as exceedingly well-covered angles over the next couple of weeks.

Patrick Mahomes: “I don’t think we have any cigars, but we’ll be ready to go at the Super Bowl”

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Patrick Mahomes did it again. This time, mainly on one leg.

And Mahomes made it known after the game that it wasn’t easy for him to do it.

“I want to thank God, man,” Mahomes told Tracy Wolfson of CBS. “He healed my body this week to battle through that. He gave me the strength to be out here.”

Although more muted than his teammate, Travis Kelce, Mahomes made it clear that he was well aware of the “Burrowhead” talk.

“We showed this place that it’s Arrowhead, it’s not Burrowhead out here,” Mahomes said.

He also had something to say about the habit of Joe Burrow and his teammates of smoking victory cigars after big wins.

“I don’t think we have any cigars, but we’ll be ready to go at the Super Bowl,” Mahomes said.

Indeed they will. And maybe they should pack a couple of boxes of Montecristos for Arizona.

The Chiefs are headed to the Super Bowl after 23-20 win over Bengals

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The Chiefs are heading to the Super Bowl after a 45-yard field goal by Harrison Butker with three seconds left to play at Arrowhead Stadium.

Butker’s field goal came after a penalty that will live in infamy in Cincinnati. Bengals defensive end Joseph Ossai was flagged for hitting Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes out of bounds at the end of a scramble. The 15-yard penalty came with eight seconds left on the clock and Butker’s kick made the Chiefs 23-20 winners

It’s the third Super Bowl trip in the last four seasons for the Chiefs and they’ll be facing head coach Andy Reid’s former team after the Eagles beat the 49ers earlier on Sunday. The game also sets up a matchup of brothers between Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and Eagles center Jason Kelce.

The Chiefs’ game-winning drive was set up by an excellent punt return by Skyy Moore. Chris Jones‘ second sack of the game forced a Bengals punt and Moore returned the ball 29 yards to give the Chiefs the ball near midfield. A short pass to Isiah Pacheco got them into Bengals territory and Mahomes’ scramble would have bought them at least one more play even without Ossai’s penalty.

Mahomes’ run came after a week spent wondering how he’d fare after suffering a high ankle sprain in the Chiefs’ win over the Jaguars. He finished 29-of-43 for 326 yards and two touchdowns, so it is safe to say that there wasn’t much of a negative impact even before his crucial run.

The Chiefs were also down a number of receivers. Justin Watson was inactive and Kadarius Toney, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Mecole Hardman all left the game with injuries. Kansas City persevered without them and the Jones-led defense made plays when they had to in order to get their team back into the Super Bowl.

Joe Burrow took a little time to get going, but ended the game 26-of-41 for 270 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. The Chiefs weren’t able to turn those turnovers into points, but the lack of points came back to haunt the Bengals on a night when they needed to be just a little bit cleaner across the board.

That will be something for them to work on this offseason while the Chiefs will get their chance at the third Super Bowl title in franchise history.

Report: 49ers believe Brock Purdy injured his ulnar collateral ligament

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49ers quarterback Brock Purdy injured his elbow in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game loss to the Eagles and head coach Kyle Shanahan said after the game that the team needs an MRI to determine the severity of the injury.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the team believes that Purdy, who returned to the game but clearly couldn’t throw, injured his ulnar collateral ligament. The MRI will show whether or not the UCL is ruptured and a negative result would lead to a six-week recovery period for Purdy. A rupture would lead to a longer timeline, but it’s not clear exactly how long.

UCL tears are common for baseball pitchers and they are typically repaired with what’s known as Tommy John surgery. That carries a lengthy recovery time, but the outlook isn’t the same for quarterbacks because of the differences in throwing motions.

The results of the MRI will have some impact on what the 49ers do at quarterback this offseason, so there will be a lot of eyes on the test results in San Francisco on Monday.

Bengals draw even on Tee Higgins TD catch

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The Bengals and Chiefs are all tied up in the third quarter.

Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow hit wide receiver Tee Higgins for a 27-yard strike on a third down for Cincinnati’s first touchdown of the evening. Evan McPhearson’s extra point tied the game 13-13 with just under 10 minutes left to play in the third quarter.

Burrow had a nine-yard completion to Higgins earlier in the drive and the wideout leads the team with five catches for 73 yards. Burrow is 17-of-25 for 183 yards overall.

The Chiefs got the ball to start the third quarter, but posted their second straight three-and-out. The Bengals have responded to those defensive stops with 10 points and things are tight with a lot of time left in the second half at Arrowhead Stadium.