Patriots clinch playoff win over Chiefs on tipped pass

Deflated balls and stolen signals don’t cause something like this to happen.

It was just dumb luck that secured the Patriots’ 27-20 AFC divisional playoff win over the Chiefs Saturday at Gillette Stadium.

On second-and-12 with 1:08 left, the Patriots just had to run out the clock and force the Chiefs to burn all their timeouts. For some reason, however, Tom Brady threw a pass. It came dangerously close to backfiring and being right up there with 4th-and-2 as one of the biggest play-calling blunders of the Bill Belichick Era.

Chiefs defensive end Tamba Hali almost had an interception, then the ball went into the air and was up for grabs. Julian Edelman came down with it for the first down. It was his 10th catch of the game after missing the last seven games of the regular season with a foot injury.

All the Patriots had to do at that point was take a knee. Now they’re in their fourth straight AFC championship game and will find out Sunday if they go to Denver or host Pittsburgh next Sunday.