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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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

All lined up

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

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

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

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

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

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