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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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

All lined up

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

For the first time in a month, buy depo medrol cod and just the sixth time this season, buy depo medrol 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 depo medrol cod Logan Mankins at left guard, buy depo medrol cod Ryan Wendell at center, buy depo medrol cod Dan Connolly at right guard, buy depo medrol cod and Sebastian Vollmer at right tackle.

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

Another key starter also returned from injury, buy depo medrol cod with rookie defensive end Chandler Jones, buy depo medrol 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 depo medrol cod The other inactive players were offensive linemen Nick McDonald and Markus Zusevics, buy depo medrol cod defensive linemen Jake Bequette and Ron Brace, buy depo medrol cod safety Derrick Martin, buy depo medrol cod and fullback James Develin, buy depo medrol cod who was promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster on Nov. Buy depo medrol cod 28, buy depo medrol cod but has yet to play.

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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

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

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

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

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