Estrace Online Review

By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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

All lined up

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

For the first time in a month, estrace online review and just the sixth time this season, estrace 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, estrace online review Logan Mankins at left guard, estrace online review Ryan Wendell at center, estrace online review Dan Connolly at right guard, estrace online review and Sebastian Vollmer at right tackle.

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

Another key starter also returned from injury, estrace online review with rookie defensive end Chandler Jones, estrace 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. Estrace online review The other inactive players were offensive linemen Nick McDonald and Markus Zusevics, estrace online review defensive linemen Jake Bequette and Ron Brace, estrace online review safety Derrick Martin, estrace online review and fullback James Develin, estrace online review who was promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster on Nov. Estrace online review 28, estrace online review but has yet to play.

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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

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

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

Michael Whitmer can be reached at mwhitmer@globe.com. Estrace 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