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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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

All lined up

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

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

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

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

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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

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

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

Michael Whitmer can be reached at mwhitmer@globe.com. Buy green tea in canada Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.

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