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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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All lined up

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

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

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

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

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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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 daily best cats beef The last team to force at least one turnover in every regular-season game was the 2010 Atlanta Falcons.

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

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

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



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Handing out Hall passes

If you’re a Patriots fan who’s never been to Canton, buy daily best cats beef Ohio, buy daily best cats beef and visited the Pro Football Hall of Fame, buy daily best cats beef Canton is coming to you this week. Buy daily best cats beef Well, buy daily best cats beef at least it’s coming to Foxborough. Buy daily best cats beef In recognition of the Hall of Fame’s 50th anniversary, buy daily best cats beef the busts of the five former Patriots who have been enshrined — John Hannah, buy daily best cats beef Andre Tippett, buy daily best cats beef Nick Buoniconti, buy daily best cats beef Mike Haynes, buy daily best cats beef 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 daily best cats beef with Tippett, buy daily best cats beef Haynes, buy daily best cats beef and Martin serving as honorary captains.

Secondary injuries

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

Michael Whitmer can be reached at mwhitmer@globe.com. Buy daily best cats beef Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.

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