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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

FOXBOROUGH — They might not have come right out and said it, buy zebeta in us 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 zebeta in us receiver Brandon Lloyd never broke stride, buy zebeta in us blowing past the Texans who bit on the run possibility. Buy zebeta in us He caught Brady’s pass without a defender near him, buy zebeta in us coasting into the end zone and pushing the Patriots’ lead to 14-0 in a game they would win handily, buy zebeta in us 42-14, buy zebeta in us Monday night at Gillette Stadium.

“That was definitely a scheme play, buy zebeta in us” Lloyd said. Buy zebeta in us “We worked hard on that all week, buy zebeta in us and when the opportunity presented itself, buy zebeta in us 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 zebeta in us catching seven passes for 89 yards, buy zebeta in us his second-highest total of the season.

He scored two touchdowns, buy zebeta in us the second coming on a fumble recovery in the end zone, buy zebeta in us after Danny Woodhead lost the ball on a screen pass. Buy zebeta in us The ball bounced forward, buy zebeta in us with Lloyd diving on it. Buy zebeta in us Not how it’s drawn up, buy zebeta in us but the way the night went.

“Just a screen pass, buy zebeta in us we do our best to block downfield, buy zebeta in us and unfortunately the ball popped out, buy zebeta in us” Lloyd said. Buy zebeta in us “But we were there to make the play.”

All lined up

Since the start of the season, buy zebeta in us the Patriots’ depth chart on the offensive line read more like a wish list than a realistic starting lineup, buy zebeta in us with an assortment of injuries resulting in five different combinations.

For the first time in a month, buy zebeta in us and just the sixth time this season, buy zebeta in us the Patriots began the game with the five players who are designated by the team as its starters: Nate Solder at left tackle, buy zebeta in us Logan Mankins at left guard, buy zebeta in us Ryan Wendell at center, buy zebeta in us Dan Connolly at right guard, buy zebeta in us and Sebastian Vollmer at right tackle.

The group was made whole again with the return of Mankins, buy zebeta in us who had missed three consecutive games — and five of six — with ankle and calf injuries. Buy zebeta in us He was back at practice last week, buy zebeta in us in a limited role, buy zebeta in us but was in the starting lineup Monday night, buy zebeta in us relegating Donald Thomas to reserve status.

Another key starter also returned from injury, buy zebeta in us with rookie defensive end Chandler Jones, buy zebeta in us back after sitting out two games with an ankle injury.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski missed his third straight game with a broken forearm. Buy zebeta in us The other inactive players were offensive linemen Nick McDonald and Markus Zusevics, buy zebeta in us defensive linemen Jake Bequette and Ron Brace, buy zebeta in us safety Derrick Martin, buy zebeta in us and fullback James Develin, buy zebeta in us who was promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster on Nov. Buy zebeta in us 28, buy zebeta in us but has yet to play.

Bolden: Return man

The Patriots made the expected move official roughly three hours before kickoff, buy zebeta in us 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 zebeta in us a rookie from Mississippi, buy zebeta in us was suspended by the NFL on Nov. Buy zebeta in us 9 for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Buy zebeta in us He hadn’t played since Oct. Buy zebeta in us 14 at Seattle, buy zebeta in us when he injured a knee against the Seahawks. Buy zebeta in us The injury cost him two games, buy zebeta in us then the suspension added four more.

With 234 yards on 43 carries, buy zebeta in us Bolden came into the Texans game with the second-most rushing yards for the Patriots, buy zebeta in us and his 5.4-yard average led the team. Buy zebeta in us Stevan Ridley has been the workhorse since Bolden was forced out, buy zebeta in us gaining 486 yards in the six games Bolden missed.

Bolden declined interview requests Saturday, buy zebeta in us the first time he had been spotted in the locker room since the suspension was announced. Buy zebeta in us But he was ready to talk after the game, buy zebeta in us in which he played on special teams and got two late carries for 11 yards.

“Felt good, buy zebeta in us” Bolden said. Buy zebeta in us “Missing four weeks, buy zebeta in us you try not to get out of shape, buy zebeta in us you keep yourself active, buy zebeta in us it felt good getting out there for the first time.”

As for the suspension?

“It was a mistake. Buy zebeta in us Saddened that it happened, buy zebeta in us but the team kept going, buy zebeta in us so just got to keep moving forward, buy zebeta in us” Bolden said. Buy zebeta in us “Worked as hard as I could for as long as I could, buy zebeta in us 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 zebeta in us The last team to force at least one turnover in every regular-season game was the 2010 Atlanta Falcons.

With the interception, buy zebeta in us the Patriots have now forced 34 takeaways, buy zebeta in us one behind the Chicago Bears. Buy zebeta in us Their plus-24 turnover differential continues to lead the league.

“We know we have a good defense here, buy zebeta in us we’ve played really well the last couple of weeks, buy zebeta in us” McCourty said. Buy zebeta in us “The biggest focus for us is just trying to build on that.”

Even when the Patriots fumbled the bounces went their way. Buy zebeta in us Ridley lost the ball on the Patriots’ first drive of the game, buy zebeta in us inside the Texans’ 5-yard-line, buy zebeta in us but Aaron Hernandez jumped on it to extend the drive. Buy zebeta in us On the next play, buy zebeta in us Hernandez caught a 7-yard touchdown pass.



Early in the fourth quarter, buy zebeta in us Woodhead fumbled after catching a screen pass and being hit from behind by J.J. Buy zebeta in us Watt. Buy zebeta in us The ball flew into the end zone, buy zebeta in us 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 zebeta in us Ohio, buy zebeta in us and visited the Pro Football Hall of Fame, buy zebeta in us Canton is coming to you this week. Buy zebeta in us Well, buy zebeta in us at least it’s coming to Foxborough. Buy zebeta in us In recognition of the Hall of Fame’s 50th anniversary, buy zebeta in us the busts of the five former Patriots who have been enshrined — John Hannah, buy zebeta in us Andre Tippett, buy zebeta in us Nick Buoniconti, buy zebeta in us Mike Haynes, buy zebeta in us 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 zebeta in us with Tippett, buy zebeta in us Haynes, buy zebeta in us and Martin serving as honorary captains.

Secondary injuries

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

Michael Whitmer can be reached at mwhitmer@globe.com. Buy zebeta in us Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.

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