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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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

All lined up

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

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

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

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

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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

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

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

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

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