Just past 36th birthday, Palmer nearing franchise records
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) Three days past his 36th birthday, Carson Palmer is preparing to put the wraps on the most prolific regular season of his long career.
He and the rest of the Arizona Cardinals (13-2) roll into Sunday's home game against Seattle (9-6) on a nine-game winning streak, Palmer at the controls of a big-play offense that ranks first in the NFL.
He needs 74 yards to break the franchise single-season passing record of 4,614 yards set by Neil Lomax 31 years ago. The Arizona offense needs 45 yards to break the Cardinals record of 6,345, also set in 1984.
They are numbers Kurt Warner never matched in his Arizona heyday.
Coach Bruce Arians said Palmer's season is ''one of the top'' any of his quarterbacks have accomplished - and Arians has coached Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Andrew Luck.
''When you talk about franchise records, especially one that's been around as long as this one,'' Arians said. `I've been around a couple guys who have been involved in franchise records and they're very special seasons.''
Palmer already has the Cardinals record for passing touchdowns at 34 and counting, having long since eclipsed the mark of 30 set by Warner in Arizona's 2008 Super Bowl season.
They are personal records, too.
Palmer has shattered his previous best in yards passing (4,274 yards), set two years ago in his first season with Arians. The 34 touchdown passes eclipse the 32 he threw for the Cincinnati Bengals a decade ago, in his second season as an NFL starter.
Not surprisingly, Palmer deflects credit for the big numbers.
''It says everything about the team,'' he said after practice on Wednesday. ''Any record or personal achievement any one player has is a direct reflection of the guys around him.''
Naturally, with those kinds of passing numbers the receivers are racking them up, too.
Larry Fitzgerald needs one catch to break the single-season franchise record of 103 set in 2005 and matched in Arizona's 38-8 rout of Green Bay on Sunday. Fitzgerald already has surpassed 1,000 yards receiving for the seventh time in his 12 NFL seasons but first since 2011.
Speedy second-year receiver John Brown, taken under Palmer's wing from practically the moment the receiver was drafted, needs 42 yards to reach 1,000. Michael Floyd probably would have given Arizona a third 1,000-yard receiver had he not dislocated three fingers in training camp and gotten off to a slow start. Floyd has topped 100 yards receiving in five of his last seven games and is averaging a team-best 16.3 yards per catch.
Rookie running back David Johnson is a threat as a receiver as well as a rusher. He has 33 catches for 423 yards and four touchdowns to go with his 556 yards on the ground, nearly all of it in the last four games when he took over for injured Chris Johnson.
It adds up to an offense that leads the NFL at 420.1 yards per game. The Cardinals' 483 points also rank first in the league, and are a franchise record.
Arizona, with the fifth-ranked defense in the league, has outscored its opponents by a whopping 206 points.
The way things are going, Palmer wanted nothing to do with any thought of sitting out Sunday's Seahawks game to prepare for the playoffs. The Cardinals already have secured a first-round bye but could take the No. 1 seed if they beat the Seahawks and Carolina loses to Tampa Bay.
''When momentum is on your side, you don't want to lose it, no doubt,'' Palmer said. ''So we expect to show up and play and pick up where we left off the last time we were in Seattle (a 39-32 victory) against the same group, and want to keep that momentum going the next month-and-a-half.''
The Cardinals are 25-4 in Palmer's last 29 starts.
Oh, and one more statistic to ponder: Arizona has more touchdowns this season (57) than punts (55).
''Yeah, that's the craziest stat I think I've ever heard,'' Arians said. ''All the stats that are out there right now, that's the one that I'm probably the most proud of.''
Notes: Arizona OLB Dwight Freeney was named NFC defensive player of the week after he sacked Aaron Rodgers three times on Sunday. Teammate ILB Deone Bucannon was NFC defensive player of the week the previous week. ... Arians said Floyd (knee), Freeney (knee), OLB Markus Golden (knee), S Rashad Johnson (ankle), DT Josh Mauro (calf) and DT Frostee Rucker (ankle) did not practice.
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