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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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

All lined up

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

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

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

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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

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

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

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

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