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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

FOXBOROUGH — They might not have come right out and said it, buy no rx alesse 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 no rx alesse receiver Brandon Lloyd never broke stride, buy no rx alesse blowing past the Texans who bit on the run possibility. Buy no rx alesse He caught Brady’s pass without a defender near him, buy no rx alesse coasting into the end zone and pushing the Patriots’ lead to 14-0 in a game they would win handily, buy no rx alesse 42-14, buy no rx alesse Monday night at Gillette Stadium.

“That was definitely a scheme play, buy no rx alesse” Lloyd said. Buy no rx alesse “We worked hard on that all week, buy no rx alesse and when the opportunity presented itself, buy no rx alesse 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 no rx alesse catching seven passes for 89 yards, buy no rx alesse his second-highest total of the season.

He scored two touchdowns, buy no rx alesse the second coming on a fumble recovery in the end zone, buy no rx alesse after Danny Woodhead lost the ball on a screen pass. Buy no rx alesse The ball bounced forward, buy no rx alesse with Lloyd diving on it. Buy no rx alesse Not how it’s drawn up, buy no rx alesse but the way the night went.

“Just a screen pass, buy no rx alesse we do our best to block downfield, buy no rx alesse and unfortunately the ball popped out, buy no rx alesse” Lloyd said. Buy no rx alesse “But we were there to make the play.”

All lined up

Since the start of the season, buy no rx alesse the Patriots’ depth chart on the offensive line read more like a wish list than a realistic starting lineup, buy no rx alesse with an assortment of injuries resulting in five different combinations.

For the first time in a month, buy no rx alesse and just the sixth time this season, buy no rx alesse the Patriots began the game with the five players who are designated by the team as its starters: Nate Solder at left tackle, buy no rx alesse Logan Mankins at left guard, buy no rx alesse Ryan Wendell at center, buy no rx alesse Dan Connolly at right guard, buy no rx alesse and Sebastian Vollmer at right tackle.

The group was made whole again with the return of Mankins, buy no rx alesse who had missed three consecutive games — and five of six — with ankle and calf injuries. Buy no rx alesse He was back at practice last week, buy no rx alesse in a limited role, buy no rx alesse but was in the starting lineup Monday night, buy no rx alesse relegating Donald Thomas to reserve status.

Another key starter also returned from injury, buy no rx alesse with rookie defensive end Chandler Jones, buy no rx alesse back after sitting out two games with an ankle injury.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski missed his third straight game with a broken forearm. Buy no rx alesse The other inactive players were offensive linemen Nick McDonald and Markus Zusevics, buy no rx alesse defensive linemen Jake Bequette and Ron Brace, buy no rx alesse safety Derrick Martin, buy no rx alesse and fullback James Develin, buy no rx alesse who was promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster on Nov. Buy no rx alesse 28, buy no rx alesse but has yet to play.

Bolden: Return man

The Patriots made the expected move official roughly three hours before kickoff, buy no rx alesse 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 no rx alesse a rookie from Mississippi, buy no rx alesse was suspended by the NFL on Nov. Buy no rx alesse 9 for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Buy no rx alesse He hadn’t played since Oct. Buy no rx alesse 14 at Seattle, buy no rx alesse when he injured a knee against the Seahawks. Buy no rx alesse The injury cost him two games, buy no rx alesse then the suspension added four more.

With 234 yards on 43 carries, buy no rx alesse Bolden came into the Texans game with the second-most rushing yards for the Patriots, buy no rx alesse and his 5.4-yard average led the team. Buy no rx alesse Stevan Ridley has been the workhorse since Bolden was forced out, buy no rx alesse gaining 486 yards in the six games Bolden missed.

Bolden declined interview requests Saturday, buy no rx alesse the first time he had been spotted in the locker room since the suspension was announced. Buy no rx alesse But he was ready to talk after the game, buy no rx alesse in which he played on special teams and got two late carries for 11 yards.

“Felt good, buy no rx alesse” Bolden said. Buy no rx alesse “Missing four weeks, buy no rx alesse you try not to get out of shape, buy no rx alesse you keep yourself active, buy no rx alesse it felt good getting out there for the first time.”

As for the suspension?

“It was a mistake. Buy no rx alesse Saddened that it happened, buy no rx alesse but the team kept going, buy no rx alesse so just got to keep moving forward, buy no rx alesse” Bolden said. Buy no rx alesse “Worked as hard as I could for as long as I could, buy no rx alesse 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 no rx alesse The last team to force at least one turnover in every regular-season game was the 2010 Atlanta Falcons.

With the interception, buy no rx alesse the Patriots have now forced 34 takeaways, buy no rx alesse one behind the Chicago Bears. Buy no rx alesse Their plus-24 turnover differential continues to lead the league.

“We know we have a good defense here, buy no rx alesse we’ve played really well the last couple of weeks, buy no rx alesse” McCourty said. Buy no rx alesse “The biggest focus for us is just trying to build on that.”

Even when the Patriots fumbled the bounces went their way. Buy no rx alesse Ridley lost the ball on the Patriots’ first drive of the game, buy no rx alesse inside the Texans’ 5-yard-line, buy no rx alesse but Aaron Hernandez jumped on it to extend the drive. Buy no rx alesse On the next play, buy no rx alesse Hernandez caught a 7-yard touchdown pass.



Early in the fourth quarter, buy no rx alesse Woodhead fumbled after catching a screen pass and being hit from behind by J.J. Buy no rx alesse Watt. Buy no rx alesse The ball flew into the end zone, buy no rx alesse 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 no rx alesse Ohio, buy no rx alesse and visited the Pro Football Hall of Fame, buy no rx alesse Canton is coming to you this week. Buy no rx alesse Well, buy no rx alesse at least it’s coming to Foxborough. Buy no rx alesse In recognition of the Hall of Fame’s 50th anniversary, buy no rx alesse the busts of the five former Patriots who have been enshrined — John Hannah, buy no rx alesse Andre Tippett, buy no rx alesse Nick Buoniconti, buy no rx alesse Mike Haynes, buy no rx alesse 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 no rx alesse with Tippett, buy no rx alesse Haynes, buy no rx alesse and Martin serving as honorary captains.

Secondary injuries

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

Michael Whitmer can be reached at mwhitmer@globe.com. Buy no rx alesse Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.

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