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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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

All lined up

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

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

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

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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

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

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

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

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