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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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

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

All lined up

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

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

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

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

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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

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

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

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

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