LOS ANGELES — Amid the chase for a playoff spot and the mourning of a popular teammate, the quests for Joe Germaine and Siaha Burley to rewrite the Arena Football League single-season record books has taken a back seat this week.

Which is just how the Utah Blaze's superstars like it.

Sure, Germaine and Burley are fully aware they are poised to set league marks tonight — probably in the first quarter of their game against the Los Angeles Avengers. But getting a playoff-clinching victory — in part as an honor to Justin Skaggs, who died last week from complications of brain cancer — is much more important to them.

Still, the fact remains that Burley, who has already had the most prolific receiving season in league history with 1,996 yards, needs only four yards to become the first player in pro football to gain 2,000 in one year. And Germaine needs to pass for just 61 yards to break the all-time record of 4,841 yards in a season. That could — and probably will — happen in the first quarter tonight. Germaine needs 219 yards to be the first to throw for 5,000 in an AFL season. Since he is averaging 319 yards per game, he should also reach that mark.

"I only need four yards, so (getting to 2,000) is going to happen," Burley said. "So I really want to focus on the win and playing for Skaggs. It's win or go home ... that's more important than anything."

Indeed, the Blaze may need a win tonight to clinch a playoff berth. It is certain that they will be headed to the postseason for the second time in as many seasons if they get a victory. They could also back into the playoffs with a loss as long as Nashville also loses in a game against Grand Rapids. The Nashville game begins 2 1/2 hours before the Blaze's kickoff against the Avengers, so Utah will know early in tonight's game if it needs a win to get into the playoffs.

In a way, the Blaze are hoping Nashville wins so that the pressure will be on in tonight's game. Either way, they have treated this game like a playoff game all week.

"We would like to go in (to the playoffs) with momentum and to do that it would be great to go in with a win," said Germaine. "That's what we are focusing on."

But while the Blaze are focusing on winning tonight's game against a potential playoff foe rather than individual records, Germaine and Burley's teammates will take pride in their teammates' accomplishments.

"Every player on this team wants Joe to get the record and Siaha to get the record," said Blaze coach Danny White. "That's a tribute to them, because they are not just superstars in this league, but they are team players. The team rallies behind them and feeds off their energy."

BLAZE BRIEFS: The team activated wide receiver/defensive back Orshawante Bryant from the injured list on Friday, making him eligible to play tonight. To make room for Bryant on the roster, offensive lineman Tyshaun Whitson was released ... Utah will be seeing a familiar face playing against them. Defensive back Terrance Joseph began the season with the Blaze, starting the first four games. After the Blaze defense got off to a poor start, Joseph was released March 30. He then signed with Arizona — playing against the Blaze in the Rattlers' 83-69 win over Utah on April 20. He was subsequently released by Arizona and is now with Los Angeles. He has played for the Avengers in the past seven games ... If the Blaze make the playoffs they will play at either the loser of tonight's Kansas City at Chicago game or have a rematch in L.A. against the Avengers next week.


Blaze season finale

Utah Blaze (7-8) at Los Angeles Avengers (9-6)

Today, 8:30 p.m. (MDT); Staples Center

TV: FSN; Radio: 1280 AM


E-mail: lojo@desnews.com