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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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

All lined up

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

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

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

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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

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

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

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

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