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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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

All lined up

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

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

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

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

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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

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

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

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

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