Two Green Bay veterans got back into game action on Sunday and pronounced themselves ready for the playoffs.
Left tackle Chad Clifton and defensive lineman Ryan Pickett both returned from injuries in the Packers’ 45-41 victory over Detroit and reported feeling fine afterward.
Clifton, out since Week 5 in Atlanta, played the first three offensive series before taking a rest. He said he still felt a little “soreness” in his back, which he injured while rehabbing his hamstring injury from the Atlanta game, but he believes he’s good to go for the postseason.
“I certainly hope so,” Clifton said. “I’m sure we’ll look at this film and they’ll make some decisions. But I felt it went decently out there. A little rusty at the beginning, just getting back out there in a game situation. But I think as it went on it got better.”
Clifton gave up a pressure to Detroit defensive end Kyle VandenBosch on an inside move down near the goal line but otherwise appeared to hold up just fine in 25 snaps. Head Coach Mike McCarthy said if Clifton checks out OK health-wise on Monday, he’ll continue to practice during the upcoming off week.
“I thought he started off a little hesitant on the first series, but I think once he got into the flow of the game he did very well in the pass protection,” McCarthy said. “We need to work him a full week and make sure he’s ready.”
Pickett didn’t have nearly as long a layoff, missing the last two games due to a concussion.
Normally a run-stuffer, Pickett still played extensively even though the Lions threw the ball 59 times against just 15 runs. He appeared to be getting a lot of snaps as an inside rusher in the nickel package, perhaps to get him conditioned for the postseason.
“Oh, yeah, I played enough snaps,” Pickett said. “I got winded a couple times, so I got my work put in.”
Rodgers gets it: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers did not play on Sunday, thereby ending the season with a passer rating of 122.5, the best in league history. Peyton Manning had a 121.1 rating in 2004.
Rodgers became the first Green Bay QB to lead the league in passer rating since the statistic was implemented in 1973. Rodgers also became the first QB in league history to pass for more than 4,000 yards and throw only six interceptions in one season.
More offensive records: The Packers entered Sunday’s game having already set team records for most points, touchdowns and net yards passing. They upped those totals to 560 points, which ranks second in league history behind the 2007 Patriots (589), 70 touchdowns and 4,924 net yards passing.
On Sunday, they also set the franchise mark for total net yards, reaching 6,482 to beat the 2004 total of 6,357.
Other team records reached included fewest giveaways in a season (14), fewest penalties in a 16-game season (55) and fewest penalty yards in a 16-game season (591).
Tops on the punting charts: Punter Tim Masthay set single-season franchise marks for gross punting average (45.6 yards) and net punting average (38.6).
The gross average beat Craig Hentrich’s mark of 45.0 yards in 1997. Net average is a stat that has been kept only since 1976, but Masthay beat Jon Ryan’s 37.6 average from 2007, a number Masthay had tied last season.
More individual marks: Tight end Jermichael Finley finished the regular season with 55 receptions, matching his career-best from 2009 and once again falling one catch short of the team record by a tight end. Paul Coffman caught 56 passes in 1979.
Finley’s 767 receiving yards this season is also a career high and ranks second to Coffman on the team’s list for tight ends. Coffman had 814 yards in 1983.
Injury update: The only injury McCarthy reported from the game was to rookie tight end Ryan Taylor, who left the game with an ankle injury. Additional coverage - Jan. 1