CINCINNATI (AP) — Andy Dalton can set three Bengals passing records. A.J. Green can get a team receiving record.
The records would be notable accomplishments for a pass-and-catch duo that's been together for only three years. Both players know that any records won't mean much if they don't come up with big games in January.
The Bengals (10-5) have clinched the AFC North title heading into their final regular-season game on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens (8-7) at Paul Brown Stadium. Those records-in-the-making are more of a footnote to what comes next.
One of the NFL's best tandems has to do big things in the playoffs for any of it to matter that much.
"I think what's more important for them is to get the playoff stigma off of them because no matter what they do, until they win a playoff game they can still be criticized," offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said on Thursday. "So the only way to stop the criticism for good is to win playoff games and win Super Bowls."
That's at least another week down the line. On Sunday, they can put their names atop some of the Bengals' most prestigious lists.
Dalton has thrown 31 touchdown passes, one shy of Carson Palmer's team record from 2005. His 4,015 yards passing leave him 117 yards from breaking Palmer's single-season club record from 2007.
Dalton has thrown for 300 yards five times this season, tying the team record shared by Boomer Esiason and Palmer.
"It shows what we've been able to accomplish this year," said Dalton, who is the league's 10th-ranked passer with a rating of 91. "I think that only happens if we've been winning games and doing some good things. Personally, it's cool to be close to those records, but like you said, wins are what ultimately matters."
Green has 1,365 yards on 94 catches, leaving him 76 yards away from breaking Chad Johnson's team record from 2007. Green could become only the third Bengals receiver to have 100 in a season, joining Carl Pickens (100) and T.J. Houshmandzadeh (112).
Records and their first division championship together are considered a preface to what really matters.
"We're playing for a bigger picture — that's the Super Bowl," Green said.