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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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

All lined up

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

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

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

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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

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

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

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

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