The Bengals are this close to being very good. The distance can be measured in inches. A foot, maybe. Whatever the empty space was between the tips of A.J. Green’s fingers and the line-drive deep ball Andy Dalton tossed Green’s way in Houston last January.

If you need a refresher in Not Quite, the Bengals offer any number of moments: Montana-to-Taylor, January 1989. Kimo vonOelhoffen, January 2006. J.J. Watt’s pick-six, January 2012.

And Dalton, overthrowing Green. Third-and-11, Houston 36-yard line, Texans ahead, 19-13, 2:57 to play. Green double-moves corner Johnathan Joseph and safety Danieal Manning. He’s not wide open in the end zone. But he’s open enough. And he’s A.J. Green. Dalton misses him.

Make that throw, quite possibly win a playoff game for the first time since Jan. 6, 1991. Make that throw, re-make a franchise image. Complete that play, climb the first rung on the ladder of credibility. Not just as a good quarterback, but as a good, winning quarterback.

As Marvin Lewis said Tuesday of that playoff loss, “We had a couple opportunities for big plays, and we missed out. A very good player is going to get that. A great player is going to hit some of those. That’s how you get to that status.’’

Put another way: “This organization needs that next big moment,’’ according to Andrew Whitworth. It doesn’t have to come from Dalton. More than likely, it will.

The Bengals have tried to make Dalton’s life easier. They drafted a pass-catching tight end in the first round. They took Darren Sproles in Round 2, only this guy’s name is Giovani Bernard. They’ve given Dalton what amounts to a complete tool chest. They’d like him to build them a house.