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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

FOXBOROUGH — They might not have come right out and said it, buy cheap nizoral 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 cheap nizoral receiver Brandon Lloyd never broke stride, buy cheap nizoral blowing past the Texans who bit on the run possibility. Buy cheap nizoral He caught Brady’s pass without a defender near him, buy cheap nizoral coasting into the end zone and pushing the Patriots’ lead to 14-0 in a game they would win handily, buy cheap nizoral 42-14, buy cheap nizoral Monday night at Gillette Stadium.

“That was definitely a scheme play, buy cheap nizoral” Lloyd said. Buy cheap nizoral “We worked hard on that all week, buy cheap nizoral and when the opportunity presented itself, buy cheap nizoral 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 cheap nizoral catching seven passes for 89 yards, buy cheap nizoral his second-highest total of the season.

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

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

All lined up

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

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

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

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

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

Bolden: Return man

The Patriots made the expected move official roughly three hours before kickoff, buy cheap nizoral 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 cheap nizoral a rookie from Mississippi, buy cheap nizoral was suspended by the NFL on Nov. Buy cheap nizoral 9 for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Buy cheap nizoral He hadn’t played since Oct. Buy cheap nizoral 14 at Seattle, buy cheap nizoral when he injured a knee against the Seahawks. Buy cheap nizoral The injury cost him two games, buy cheap nizoral then the suspension added four more.

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

“It was a mistake. Buy cheap nizoral Saddened that it happened, buy cheap nizoral but the team kept going, buy cheap nizoral so just got to keep moving forward, buy cheap nizoral” Bolden said. Buy cheap nizoral “Worked as hard as I could for as long as I could, buy cheap nizoral 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 cheap nizoral The last team to force at least one turnover in every regular-season game was the 2010 Atlanta Falcons.

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

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

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



Early in the fourth quarter, buy cheap nizoral Woodhead fumbled after catching a screen pass and being hit from behind by J.J. Buy cheap nizoral Watt. Buy cheap nizoral The ball flew into the end zone, buy cheap nizoral 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 cheap nizoral Ohio, buy cheap nizoral and visited the Pro Football Hall of Fame, buy cheap nizoral Canton is coming to you this week. Buy cheap nizoral Well, buy cheap nizoral at least it’s coming to Foxborough. Buy cheap nizoral In recognition of the Hall of Fame’s 50th anniversary, buy cheap nizoral the busts of the five former Patriots who have been enshrined — John Hannah, buy cheap nizoral Andre Tippett, buy cheap nizoral Nick Buoniconti, buy cheap nizoral Mike Haynes, buy cheap nizoral 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 cheap nizoral with Tippett, buy cheap nizoral Haynes, buy cheap nizoral and Martin serving as honorary captains.

Secondary injuries

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

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

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