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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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

All lined up

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

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

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

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

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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

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

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

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

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