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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

“Just a screen pass, buy hip & joint chews cats in us we do our best to block downfield, buy hip & joint chews cats in us and unfortunately the ball popped out, buy hip & joint chews cats in us” Lloyd said. Buy hip & joint chews cats in us “But we were there to make the play.”

All lined up

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

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

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

Another key starter also returned from injury, buy hip & joint chews cats in us with rookie defensive end Chandler Jones, buy hip & joint chews cats in us back after sitting out two games with an ankle injury.

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

“Felt good, buy hip & joint chews cats in us” Bolden said. Buy hip & joint chews cats in us “Missing four weeks, buy hip & joint chews cats in us you try not to get out of shape, buy hip & joint chews cats in us you keep yourself active, buy hip & joint chews cats in us it felt good getting out there for the first time.”

As for the suspension?

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

With the interception, buy hip & joint chews cats in us the Patriots have now forced 34 takeaways, buy hip & joint chews cats in us one behind the Chicago Bears. Buy hip & joint chews cats in us Their plus-24 turnover differential continues to lead the league.

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

Michael Whitmer can be reached at mwhitmer@globe.com. Buy hip & joint chews cats in us Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.

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