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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

FOXBOROUGH — They might not have come right out and said it, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% 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 tretinoin cream 0.025% receiver Brandon Lloyd never broke stride, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% blowing past the Texans who bit on the run possibility. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% He caught Brady’s pass without a defender near him, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% coasting into the end zone and pushing the Patriots’ lead to 14-0 in a game they would win handily, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% 42-14, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% Monday night at Gillette Stadium.

“That was definitely a scheme play, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025%” Lloyd said. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% “We worked hard on that all week, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% and when the opportunity presented itself, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% 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 tretinoin cream 0.025% catching seven passes for 89 yards, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% his second-highest total of the season.

He scored two touchdowns, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% the second coming on a fumble recovery in the end zone, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% after Danny Woodhead lost the ball on a screen pass. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% The ball bounced forward, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% with Lloyd diving on it. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% Not how it’s drawn up, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% but the way the night went.

“Just a screen pass, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% we do our best to block downfield, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% and unfortunately the ball popped out, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025%” Lloyd said. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% “But we were there to make the play.”

All lined up

Since the start of the season, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% the Patriots’ depth chart on the offensive line read more like a wish list than a realistic starting lineup, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% with an assortment of injuries resulting in five different combinations.

For the first time in a month, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% and just the sixth time this season, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% 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 tretinoin cream 0.025% Logan Mankins at left guard, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% Ryan Wendell at center, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% Dan Connolly at right guard, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% and Sebastian Vollmer at right tackle.

The group was made whole again with the return of Mankins, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% who had missed three consecutive games — and five of six — with ankle and calf injuries. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% He was back at practice last week, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% in a limited role, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% but was in the starting lineup Monday night, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% relegating Donald Thomas to reserve status.

Another key starter also returned from injury, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% with rookie defensive end Chandler Jones, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% 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 tretinoin cream 0.025% The other inactive players were offensive linemen Nick McDonald and Markus Zusevics, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% defensive linemen Jake Bequette and Ron Brace, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% safety Derrick Martin, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% and fullback James Develin, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% who was promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster on Nov. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% 28, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% but has yet to play.

Bolden: Return man

The Patriots made the expected move official roughly three hours before kickoff, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% 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 tretinoin cream 0.025% a rookie from Mississippi, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% was suspended by the NFL on Nov. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% 9 for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% He hadn’t played since Oct. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% 14 at Seattle, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% when he injured a knee against the Seahawks. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% The injury cost him two games, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% then the suspension added four more.

With 234 yards on 43 carries, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% Bolden came into the Texans game with the second-most rushing yards for the Patriots, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% and his 5.4-yard average led the team. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% Stevan Ridley has been the workhorse since Bolden was forced out, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% gaining 486 yards in the six games Bolden missed.

Bolden declined interview requests Saturday, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% the first time he had been spotted in the locker room since the suspension was announced. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% But he was ready to talk after the game, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% in which he played on special teams and got two late carries for 11 yards.

“Felt good, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025%” Bolden said. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% “Missing four weeks, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% you try not to get out of shape, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% you keep yourself active, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% it felt good getting out there for the first time.”

As for the suspension?

“It was a mistake. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% Saddened that it happened, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% but the team kept going, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% so just got to keep moving forward, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025%” Bolden said. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% “Worked as hard as I could for as long as I could, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% 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 tretinoin cream 0.025% 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 tretinoin cream 0.025% the Patriots have now forced 34 takeaways, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% one behind the Chicago Bears. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% Their plus-24 turnover differential continues to lead the league.

“We know we have a good defense here, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% we’ve played really well the last couple of weeks, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025%” McCourty said. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% “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 tretinoin cream 0.025% Ridley lost the ball on the Patriots’ first drive of the game, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% inside the Texans’ 5-yard-line, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% but Aaron Hernandez jumped on it to extend the drive. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% On the next play, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% Hernandez caught a 7-yard touchdown pass.



Early in the fourth quarter, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% Woodhead fumbled after catching a screen pass and being hit from behind by J.J. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% Watt. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% The ball flew into the end zone, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% 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 tretinoin cream 0.025% Ohio, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% and visited the Pro Football Hall of Fame, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% Canton is coming to you this week. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% Well, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% at least it’s coming to Foxborough. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% In recognition of the Hall of Fame’s 50th anniversary, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% the busts of the five former Patriots who have been enshrined — John Hannah, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% Andre Tippett, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% Nick Buoniconti, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% Mike Haynes, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% 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 tretinoin cream 0.025% with Tippett, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% Haynes, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% and Martin serving as honorary captains.

Secondary injuries

One downside to the Patriots’ victory was injuries to the defensive secondary. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% The Patriots announced injuries to Aqib Talib (hip) and Alfonzo Dennard (hamstring). Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% Neither returned to the game after getting injured . Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% . Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% . Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% With Julian Edelman out for the season with a foot injury, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% Wes Welker took over the Patriots’ punt return duties. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% He returned four for 50 yards, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% with a long of 31 . Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% . Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% . Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% Welker also caught three passes, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% pushing his streak of consecutive regular-season games with a catch to 107 . Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% . Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% . Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% Donte Stallworth made the most of his return to the Patriots. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% He caught only one pass from Brady, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% but the catch-and-run went for 63 yards and a touchdown in the third quarter, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% making it 28-0. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% It was a case of practice makes perfect, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% even if the practice had been a while ago. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% “That particular play is something we had worked on, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% even in the spring, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025%’’ he said. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% “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 tretinoin cream 0.025% He put it up for me to catch it and that’s what I did.’’ . Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% . Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% . Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% His team off until Wednesday, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% Celtics coach Doc Rivers was spotted on the sideline observing pregame warmups, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% wearing a Patriots red sweater and chatting up his Patriots counterpart, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% Bill Belichick. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% Also in on the conversation: Boston sports fan Mark Wahlberg. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo was also at the game, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% wearing a No. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% 83 Patriots jersey . Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% . Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% . Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% The Patriots extended their December winning streak to 13 games, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% dating to a 22-21 loss at Miami on Dec. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% 6, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% 2009. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% It ties the Patriots for the second-longest such streak with the Dallas Cowboys, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% who accomplished the feat from 1968-72. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% The record belongs to the San Diego Chargers, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% winners of 18 straight from 2006-09. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% New England also has won 21 straight games in the second half of the regular season. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% The Patriots went 8-0 in the second half of 2010, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% 8-0 in 2011, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% and have won their first five this season. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% The last loss from the back half of the schedule came in the regular-season finale in 2009, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% when the Patriots lost at Houston, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% 34-27 … In a pre-game Twitter message, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% self-described Patriots fan Donald Trump posted, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% “Good Luck to Bob Kraft, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% Tom Brady and Coach Bob Belichick tonight.” Needless to say, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% the Donald got plenty of unwanted attention for his fumble . Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% . Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% . Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% Keep an eye out for Jerod Mayo on Tuesday. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% He’ll be joining Subway spokesman Jared Fogle during multiple appearances around town, buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% thanking unassuming fans with a dozen acts of kindness.

Michael Whitmer can be reached at mwhitmer@globe.com. Buy no rx tretinoin cream 0.025% Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.

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