When Carson Palmer entered the league, there were some big expectations for him. He almost met those expectations with the Cincinnati Bengals until he hurt his knee. Then he became known as a guy who could pile up numbers but not win.
This year is different. He is piling up numbers AND he his winning. Team records are falling by the week. But if you ask him about those achievements, he gives them the right amount of respect, all while downplaying them.
Here are some of the team records he has set.
He has the most touchdown passes in a season in Cardinals history (31, breaking the record held by Kurt Warner in 2008, when the team went to the Super Bowl).
He has had more 300-yard passing games in 2015 than any other Cardinals QB in a season (9, Kurt Warner and Neil Lomax each had 7 in a season).
He has had more games with a passer rating of at least 100 than any other Cardinals QB has had in a season (9, Kurt Warner and Neil Lomax had seven in a season).
He is the first Cardinals quarterback to throw for over 4000 twice in a career. Only Warner and Lomax had done it even once. Palmer has done it twice in three seasons with the team.
Palmer, in only 13 games, has tied the team record for games in a season with at least two touchdown passes. He has 10 such games this season and three games left to break the record.
He is 611 yards away from the team record for passing yards in a season.
He leads an offense that is only 22 points away from the franchise record for the most points scored in a season in franchise history.
Head coach Bruce Arians, after Palmer set the touchdown pass record on Thursday, he described the achievements of the season quite aptly. "When the records start falling, the season speaks for itself," he said.
Palmer was asked several times after the game on Thursday. The answer was roughly the same. "It's an honor (to get the records)," he said. "That's not why I play the game. There's no doubt about it, I play the game to win and have fun and enjoy it. I enjoy every aspect of it, every facet of it. It being Kurt Warner's record and what he did, in his short time here, it's definitely a huge honor."
The answer more of the same when asked if it means anything more coming off his knee injury.
"Any award in an honor, no doubt," he explained. "But again, that is not what I am playing for. You play for the respect of the guys in the locker room. You play for the respect of your opponents, and that's why I love playing the game so much. Any award is obviously an honor, but that's not what this is about."
He now is garnering league MVP talk. Receiver Larry Fitzgerald says Palmer "deserves to get the MVP of the National Football League."
But Palmer is focused on winning. It isn't his most gratifying season -- "not yet."
At what point will he sit back and reflect on his accomplishments of the season? "February 8."
Yes, that is the day after the Super Bowl.