ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — From rematches to revivals to redemption, it's not a good idea to bet against Peyton Manning when it comes to second chances.
He has 97 touchdown throws since hooking up with John Elway in Denver two years ago after the Indianapolis Colts released him when neck troubles clouded his football future.
After dispatching San Diego Sunday on the anniversary of last year's crushing loss to Baltimore in eerily similar circumstances, Manning stands one win from a shot at becoming the first quarterback to win Super Bowls with two franchises.
Standing in his way are Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, who beat the Broncos 34-31 in overtime in November.
Thing is, it's been six years since Manning lost a rematch to a team that beat him earlier in the season.
The Broncos (14-3) lost just once at home this season, when they became the highest-scoring team in the Super Bowl era, propelled by Manning's record 55 TD throws and 5,447 yards through the air.
That was back on Dec. 12, when they were upset by San Diego, a loss they avenged Sunday by beating the Chargers 24-17.
The last time Manning lost twice in a row to the same team was in 2007, when the Colts lost 23-21 at San Diego in November and then dropped a 28-24 heartbreaker at home in the wild-card playoffs.
Since then, Manning has won five straight rematches, including the AFC championship against the Jets 30-17 following the 2009 season, avenging a 29-15 loss in Week 16 that ended Indy's shot at a perfect season.
It took a vintage performance from Manning on Sunday to keep that streak going.
After controlling the game for 3½ quarters, the Broncos allowed 17 fourth-quarter points after losing shutdown cornerback Chris Harris Jr. to a torn ACL.
The Broncos were facing third-and-17 from their own 20 with three minutes left and Rivers loosening up his right arm on the Chargers sideline, ready for his chance to tie this one just like the Ravens had a year earlier on their way to a 38-35 win in double-overtime.
"It was deja vu," Elway, now the Broncos' executive vice president, said on his weekly podcast on the team's website Tuesday.
As Manning took the snap and stepped up, the pocket began to collapse around him, but he spotted tight end Julius Thomas open along the Broncos sideline. The pass was perfect, as was Thomas' tap dance until his momentum took him out of bounds at the 41.
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