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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

“That was definitely a scheme play, discount stop smoking patch” Lloyd said. Discount stop smoking patch “We worked hard on that all week, discount stop smoking patch and when the opportunity presented itself, discount stop smoking patch 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 stop smoking patch catching seven passes for 89 yards, discount stop smoking patch his second-highest total of the season.

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

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

All lined up

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

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

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

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

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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

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

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

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

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