TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — For all his ups and downs, Arizona's Carson Palmer is closing in on the fourth 4,000-yard passing season of his career.
Perhaps more significantly, he has a chance for an 11-win season, something he has accomplished only once in his 11 NFL seasons.
Yet, he said, those numbers won't mean a whole lot if the Cardinals don't make the playoffs.
"The playoffs are what make it really satisfying," Palmer said. "To be 11-5 and not get in the playoffs, it almost seems unfair and unjust, but that's how it is. There are teams that make it at 7-9; there are teams that haven't made it at 10-6. Like I said, we just want to keep playing football. You get the satisfaction when you get to the postseason."
Palmer hasn't had much of that sort of satisfaction in his career. He has been in the postseason twice, with Cincinnati in 2005 and 2009. His first appearance ended on his second snap against Pittsburgh, when he went down with a severe knee injury.
Palmer wraps up his first regular season with Arizona on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. The Cardinals, winners of seven of their last eight, cling to a single playoff hope, that they can beat San Francisco and, more unlikely, that Tampa Bay can win at New Orleans.
Otherwise, Palmer will be staying home again.
If Palmer gets 133 yards Sunday, he will become the first quarterback in NFL history to have 4,000-yard passing season for three teams. He has already done it for Cincinnati and Oakland. Palmer would be the third Cardinal to do it, joining Kurt Warner, who threw for 4,583 in 2008, and Neil Lomax, who set a franchise record with 4,614 in 1984.
"I think it will mean something later when you think about things like that," he said. "Statistics don't matter right now. Getting a win, and like I said, sending them (the 49ers) into the playoffs with a loss, is what matters."
Palmer has thrown for 22 touchdowns but has 21 interceptions. He threw four interceptions in Seattle on Sunday only to come back and throw a picture-perfect winning 31-yard touchdown pass to Michael Floyd.
Coach Bruce Arians said he has never been around a quarterback who can put a bad play behind him so quickly.