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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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

All lined up

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

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

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

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

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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

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

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

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

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