Tuesday 23 January 2018 / 01:35 AM

Super Bowl rematch lives up to the hype

Every football fan outside of Seattle is asking, “Where was this game last February?”

You seriously couldn’t have scripted a more thrilling Super Bowl rematch. As Seahawks QB Russell Wilson said, “It was one for the ages.”

For most of the game, the Seahawks seemed to once again possess the secret formula for shutting down Denver’s high-powered offense, leading 17-3 at the half and carrying that advantage into the fourth.

But the Broncos capitalized on a string of Seahawks mistakes to claw and scratch their way back into the ball game. Down by five with just over six minutes to play, Peyton Manning was marching his team down the field for the go-ahead score.

With the Centurylink crowd on the edge of their seats, safety Kam Chancellor made an incredible leaping interception to end the scoring threat.

The game seemed to be all but finished, but the Broncos’ defense was able to stuff Marshawn Lynch on three straight carries and hold Seattle to a field goal with a little bit of time left on the clock.

Down by 8 with 59 seconds to go, Peyton Manning was to be given one more chance.

His mission: to put together an 80-yard touchdown drive in under a minute with no time-outs. Since 1998, only twice in 76 attempts has a team pulled off the tying score when in a similar situation.

On just six pass attempts against the top secondary in the league, Manning successfully engineered one of the most impressive drives in his Hall-of-Fame career.

He found TE Jacob Tamme open on the sideline for a 26-yard TD and then threaded the needle to hit Demaryius Thomas at the back of the end zone for the 2-point conversion that sent the game into overtime.

But after Seattle won the coin toss and elected to take the ball, it was Wilson’s turn to work his own magic.

Russell marched the Hawks 80 yards in 11 plays and Lynch scored the game winning TD on a 6-yard run that was so well blocked you could have wheeled your granny through that gaping hole.

“I can’t wait for those moments, those big-time moments and have guys to continue to believe in what we do,” Wilson said. “That was a great experience tonight.”

Third time’s the charm?

Now that fans have got a taste of what a Seattle-Denver football game is supposed to look like, many can’t help but wonder if we’ll be seeing these two teams line up again this February in Arizona.

The Vegas odds-makers agree that this is the most likely scenario, but football is played on grass and field turf and not in a bookie’s simulation engine.

Only once during the Super Bowl era have both teams returned to the big dance in successive seasons. The Dallas Cowboys beat the Buffalo Bills 52-17 in Super Bowl XXVII and returned the favor in Super Bowl XXVIII, 30-13.

Should Manning get the chance to enact Super Bowl revenge, he’ll hope for a better result than the Bills got back in 1994.

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Michael Airhart

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