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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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

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

All lined up

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

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

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

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

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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

With the interception, find avapro cod the Patriots have now forced 34 takeaways, find avapro cod one behind the Chicago Bears. Find avapro cod Their plus-24 turnover differential continues to lead the league.

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

Michael Whitmer can be reached at mwhitmer@globe.com. Find avapro cod Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.

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