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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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

All lined up

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

For the first time in a month, buy no rx alli and just the sixth time this season, buy no rx alli 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 alli Logan Mankins at left guard, buy no rx alli Ryan Wendell at center, buy no rx alli Dan Connolly at right guard, buy no rx alli and Sebastian Vollmer at right tackle.

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

Another key starter also returned from injury, buy no rx alli with rookie defensive end Chandler Jones, buy no rx alli 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 alli The other inactive players were offensive linemen Nick McDonald and Markus Zusevics, buy no rx alli defensive linemen Jake Bequette and Ron Brace, buy no rx alli safety Derrick Martin, buy no rx alli and fullback James Develin, buy no rx alli who was promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster on Nov. Buy no rx alli 28, buy no rx alli but has yet to play.

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

“It was a mistake. Buy no rx alli Saddened that it happened, buy no rx alli but the team kept going, buy no rx alli so just got to keep moving forward, buy no rx alli” Bolden said. Buy no rx alli “Worked as hard as I could for as long as I could, buy no rx alli 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 alli 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 alli the Patriots have now forced 34 takeaways, buy no rx alli one behind the Chicago Bears. Buy no rx alli Their plus-24 turnover differential continues to lead the league.

“We know we have a good defense here, buy no rx alli we’ve played really well the last couple of weeks, buy no rx alli” McCourty said. Buy no rx alli “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 alli Ridley lost the ball on the Patriots’ first drive of the game, buy no rx alli inside the Texans’ 5-yard-line, buy no rx alli but Aaron Hernandez jumped on it to extend the drive. Buy no rx alli On the next play, buy no rx alli Hernandez caught a 7-yard touchdown pass.



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

Secondary injuries

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

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

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