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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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

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

All lined up

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

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

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

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

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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

With the interception, discount probalan the Patriots have now forced 34 takeaways, discount probalan one behind the Chicago Bears. Discount probalan Their plus-24 turnover differential continues to lead the league.

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

Michael Whitmer can be reached at mwhitmer@globe.com. Discount probalan Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.

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