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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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

All lined up

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

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

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

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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

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

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

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

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