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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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

All lined up

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

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

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

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

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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

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

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

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

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