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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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

All lined up

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

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

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

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

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

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