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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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

All lined up

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

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

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

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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

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

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

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

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