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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

“That was definitely a scheme play, cialis brand name” Lloyd said. Cialis brand name “We worked hard on that all week, cialis brand name and when the opportunity presented itself, cialis brand name Coach [Josh] McDaniels called it at the right time and we were able to take advantage of it.”

Lloyd took advantage of his opportunities, cialis brand name catching seven passes for 89 yards, cialis brand name his second-highest total of the season.

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

“Just a screen pass, cialis brand name we do our best to block downfield, cialis brand name and unfortunately the ball popped out, cialis brand name” Lloyd said. Cialis brand name “But we were there to make the play.”

All lined up

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

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

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

Another key starter also returned from injury, cialis brand name with rookie defensive end Chandler Jones, cialis brand name back after sitting out two games with an ankle injury.

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

“Felt good, cialis brand name” Bolden said. Cialis brand name “Missing four weeks, cialis brand name you try not to get out of shape, cialis brand name you keep yourself active, cialis brand name it felt good getting out there for the first time.”

As for the suspension?

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

With the interception, cialis brand name the Patriots have now forced 34 takeaways, cialis brand name one behind the Chicago Bears. Cialis brand name Their plus-24 turnover differential continues to lead the league.

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

Michael Whitmer can be reached at mwhitmer@globe.com. Cialis brand name Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.

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