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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

FOXBOROUGH — They might not have come right out and said it, buy cardizem cod but the Patriots were fully aware of the attention given to the Houston Texans and their preference for play-action passes on offense.

So when quarterback Tom Brady perfectly sold a handoff the second time the Patriots had the ball, buy cardizem cod receiver Brandon Lloyd never broke stride, buy cardizem cod blowing past the Texans who bit on the run possibility. Buy cardizem cod He caught Brady’s pass without a defender near him, buy cardizem cod coasting into the end zone and pushing the Patriots’ lead to 14-0 in a game they would win handily, buy cardizem cod 42-14, buy cardizem cod Monday night at Gillette Stadium.

“That was definitely a scheme play, buy cardizem cod” Lloyd said. Buy cardizem cod “We worked hard on that all week, buy cardizem cod and when the opportunity presented itself, buy cardizem cod Coach [Josh] McDaniels called it at the right time and we were able to take advantage of it.”

Lloyd took advantage of his opportunities, buy cardizem cod catching seven passes for 89 yards, buy cardizem cod his second-highest total of the season.

He scored two touchdowns, buy cardizem cod the second coming on a fumble recovery in the end zone, buy cardizem cod after Danny Woodhead lost the ball on a screen pass. Buy cardizem cod The ball bounced forward, buy cardizem cod with Lloyd diving on it. Buy cardizem cod Not how it’s drawn up, buy cardizem cod but the way the night went.

“Just a screen pass, buy cardizem cod we do our best to block downfield, buy cardizem cod and unfortunately the ball popped out, buy cardizem cod” Lloyd said. Buy cardizem cod “But we were there to make the play.”

All lined up

Since the start of the season, buy cardizem cod the Patriots’ depth chart on the offensive line read more like a wish list than a realistic starting lineup, buy cardizem cod with an assortment of injuries resulting in five different combinations.

For the first time in a month, buy cardizem cod and just the sixth time this season, buy cardizem cod the Patriots began the game with the five players who are designated by the team as its starters: Nate Solder at left tackle, buy cardizem cod Logan Mankins at left guard, buy cardizem cod Ryan Wendell at center, buy cardizem cod Dan Connolly at right guard, buy cardizem cod and Sebastian Vollmer at right tackle.

The group was made whole again with the return of Mankins, buy cardizem cod who had missed three consecutive games — and five of six — with ankle and calf injuries. Buy cardizem cod He was back at practice last week, buy cardizem cod in a limited role, buy cardizem cod but was in the starting lineup Monday night, buy cardizem cod relegating Donald Thomas to reserve status.

Another key starter also returned from injury, buy cardizem cod with rookie defensive end Chandler Jones, buy cardizem cod back after sitting out two games with an ankle injury.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski missed his third straight game with a broken forearm. Buy cardizem cod The other inactive players were offensive linemen Nick McDonald and Markus Zusevics, buy cardizem cod defensive linemen Jake Bequette and Ron Brace, buy cardizem cod safety Derrick Martin, buy cardizem cod and fullback James Develin, buy cardizem cod who was promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster on Nov. Buy cardizem cod 28, buy cardizem cod but has yet to play.

Bolden: Return man

The Patriots made the expected move official roughly three hours before kickoff, buy cardizem cod activating Brandon Bolden to the 53-man roster and making him eligible to play against the Texans after the running back served a four-game suspension.

Bolden, buy cardizem cod a rookie from Mississippi, buy cardizem cod was suspended by the NFL on Nov. Buy cardizem cod 9 for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Buy cardizem cod He hadn’t played since Oct. Buy cardizem cod 14 at Seattle, buy cardizem cod when he injured a knee against the Seahawks. Buy cardizem cod The injury cost him two games, buy cardizem cod then the suspension added four more.

With 234 yards on 43 carries, buy cardizem cod Bolden came into the Texans game with the second-most rushing yards for the Patriots, buy cardizem cod and his 5.4-yard average led the team. Buy cardizem cod Stevan Ridley has been the workhorse since Bolden was forced out, buy cardizem cod gaining 486 yards in the six games Bolden missed.

Bolden declined interview requests Saturday, buy cardizem cod the first time he had been spotted in the locker room since the suspension was announced. Buy cardizem cod But he was ready to talk after the game, buy cardizem cod in which he played on special teams and got two late carries for 11 yards.

“Felt good, buy cardizem cod” Bolden said. Buy cardizem cod “Missing four weeks, buy cardizem cod you try not to get out of shape, buy cardizem cod you keep yourself active, buy cardizem cod it felt good getting out there for the first time.”

As for the suspension?

“It was a mistake. Buy cardizem cod Saddened that it happened, buy cardizem cod but the team kept going, buy cardizem cod so just got to keep moving forward, buy cardizem cod” Bolden said. Buy cardizem cod “Worked as hard as I could for as long as I could, buy cardizem cod make sure I don’t fall too far off.”

Turning their way

Devin McCourty’s end-zone interception on Houston’s second offensive series of the game extended the Patriots’ streak of forcing at least one turnover to 24 games. Buy cardizem cod The last team to force at least one turnover in every regular-season game was the 2010 Atlanta Falcons.

With the interception, buy cardizem cod the Patriots have now forced 34 takeaways, buy cardizem cod one behind the Chicago Bears. Buy cardizem cod Their plus-24 turnover differential continues to lead the league.

“We know we have a good defense here, buy cardizem cod we’ve played really well the last couple of weeks, buy cardizem cod” McCourty said. Buy cardizem cod “The biggest focus for us is just trying to build on that.”

Even when the Patriots fumbled the bounces went their way. Buy cardizem cod Ridley lost the ball on the Patriots’ first drive of the game, buy cardizem cod inside the Texans’ 5-yard-line, buy cardizem cod but Aaron Hernandez jumped on it to extend the drive. Buy cardizem cod On the next play, buy cardizem cod Hernandez caught a 7-yard touchdown pass.



Early in the fourth quarter, buy cardizem cod Woodhead fumbled after catching a screen pass and being hit from behind by J.J. Buy cardizem cod Watt. Buy cardizem cod The ball flew into the end zone, buy cardizem cod with Lloyd diving on it for an unlikely touchdown.

Handing out Hall passes

If you’re a Patriots fan who’s never been to Canton, buy cardizem cod Ohio, buy cardizem cod and visited the Pro Football Hall of Fame, buy cardizem cod Canton is coming to you this week. Buy cardizem cod Well, buy cardizem cod at least it’s coming to Foxborough. Buy cardizem cod In recognition of the Hall of Fame’s 50th anniversary, buy cardizem cod the busts of the five former Patriots who have been enshrined — John Hannah, buy cardizem cod Andre Tippett, buy cardizem cod Nick Buoniconti, buy cardizem cod Mike Haynes, buy cardizem cod and Curtis Martin — will be on display at the Hall at Patriot Place.

The weeklong celebration will culminate with Sunday night’s home game against the San Francisco 49ers, buy cardizem cod with Tippett, buy cardizem cod Haynes, buy cardizem cod and Martin serving as honorary captains.

Secondary injuries

One downside to the Patriots’ victory was injuries to the defensive secondary. Buy cardizem cod The Patriots announced injuries to Aqib Talib (hip) and Alfonzo Dennard (hamstring). Buy cardizem cod Neither returned to the game after getting injured . Buy cardizem cod . Buy cardizem cod . Buy cardizem cod With Julian Edelman out for the season with a foot injury, buy cardizem cod Wes Welker took over the Patriots’ punt return duties. Buy cardizem cod He returned four for 50 yards, buy cardizem cod with a long of 31 . Buy cardizem cod . Buy cardizem cod . Buy cardizem cod Welker also caught three passes, buy cardizem cod pushing his streak of consecutive regular-season games with a catch to 107 . Buy cardizem cod . Buy cardizem cod . Buy cardizem cod Donte Stallworth made the most of his return to the Patriots. Buy cardizem cod He caught only one pass from Brady, buy cardizem cod but the catch-and-run went for 63 yards and a touchdown in the third quarter, buy cardizem cod making it 28-0. Buy cardizem cod It was a case of practice makes perfect, buy cardizem cod even if the practice had been a while ago. Buy cardizem cod “That particular play is something we had worked on, buy cardizem cod even in the spring, buy cardizem cod’’ he said. Buy cardizem cod “It was just an opportunity where they were kind of flat-footed and it gave me an opportunity to run by the guy and Tommy made a great throw. Buy cardizem cod He put it up for me to catch it and that’s what I did.’’ . Buy cardizem cod . Buy cardizem cod . Buy cardizem cod His team off until Wednesday, buy cardizem cod Celtics coach Doc Rivers was spotted on the sideline observing pregame warmups, buy cardizem cod wearing a Patriots red sweater and chatting up his Patriots counterpart, buy cardizem cod Bill Belichick. Buy cardizem cod Also in on the conversation: Boston sports fan Mark Wahlberg. Buy cardizem cod Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo was also at the game, buy cardizem cod wearing a No. Buy cardizem cod 83 Patriots jersey . Buy cardizem cod . Buy cardizem cod . Buy cardizem cod The Patriots extended their December winning streak to 13 games, buy cardizem cod dating to a 22-21 loss at Miami on Dec. Buy cardizem cod 6, buy cardizem cod 2009. Buy cardizem cod It ties the Patriots for the second-longest such streak with the Dallas Cowboys, buy cardizem cod who accomplished the feat from 1968-72. Buy cardizem cod The record belongs to the San Diego Chargers, buy cardizem cod winners of 18 straight from 2006-09. Buy cardizem cod New England also has won 21 straight games in the second half of the regular season. Buy cardizem cod The Patriots went 8-0 in the second half of 2010, buy cardizem cod 8-0 in 2011, buy cardizem cod and have won their first five this season. Buy cardizem cod The last loss from the back half of the schedule came in the regular-season finale in 2009, buy cardizem cod when the Patriots lost at Houston, buy cardizem cod 34-27 … In a pre-game Twitter message, buy cardizem cod self-described Patriots fan Donald Trump posted, buy cardizem cod “Good Luck to Bob Kraft, buy cardizem cod Tom Brady and Coach Bob Belichick tonight.” Needless to say, buy cardizem cod the Donald got plenty of unwanted attention for his fumble . Buy cardizem cod . Buy cardizem cod . Buy cardizem cod Keep an eye out for Jerod Mayo on Tuesday. Buy cardizem cod He’ll be joining Subway spokesman Jared Fogle during multiple appearances around town, buy cardizem cod thanking unassuming fans with a dozen acts of kindness.

Michael Whitmer can be reached at mwhitmer@globe.com. Buy cardizem cod Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.

Source: http://bostonglobe.com/sports/2012/12/11/logan-mankins-returns-makes-patriots-line-whole/A1Xtp2mNJfSRC0vUxtSlUI/story.html