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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

FOXBOROUGH — They might not have come right out and said it, find no rx cla 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 no rx cla receiver Brandon Lloyd never broke stride, find no rx cla blowing past the Texans who bit on the run possibility. Find no rx cla He caught Brady’s pass without a defender near him, find no rx cla coasting into the end zone and pushing the Patriots’ lead to 14-0 in a game they would win handily, find no rx cla 42-14, find no rx cla Monday night at Gillette Stadium.

“That was definitely a scheme play, find no rx cla” Lloyd said. Find no rx cla “We worked hard on that all week, find no rx cla and when the opportunity presented itself, find no rx cla 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 no rx cla catching seven passes for 89 yards, find no rx cla his second-highest total of the season.

He scored two touchdowns, find no rx cla the second coming on a fumble recovery in the end zone, find no rx cla after Danny Woodhead lost the ball on a screen pass. Find no rx cla The ball bounced forward, find no rx cla with Lloyd diving on it. Find no rx cla Not how it’s drawn up, find no rx cla but the way the night went.

“Just a screen pass, find no rx cla we do our best to block downfield, find no rx cla and unfortunately the ball popped out, find no rx cla” Lloyd said. Find no rx cla “But we were there to make the play.”

All lined up

Since the start of the season, find no rx cla the Patriots’ depth chart on the offensive line read more like a wish list than a realistic starting lineup, find no rx cla with an assortment of injuries resulting in five different combinations.

For the first time in a month, find no rx cla and just the sixth time this season, find no rx cla the Patriots began the game with the five players who are designated by the team as its starters: Nate Solder at left tackle, find no rx cla Logan Mankins at left guard, find no rx cla Ryan Wendell at center, find no rx cla Dan Connolly at right guard, find no rx cla and Sebastian Vollmer at right tackle.

The group was made whole again with the return of Mankins, find no rx cla who had missed three consecutive games — and five of six — with ankle and calf injuries. Find no rx cla He was back at practice last week, find no rx cla in a limited role, find no rx cla but was in the starting lineup Monday night, find no rx cla relegating Donald Thomas to reserve status.

Another key starter also returned from injury, find no rx cla with rookie defensive end Chandler Jones, find no rx cla back after sitting out two games with an ankle injury.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski missed his third straight game with a broken forearm. Find no rx cla The other inactive players were offensive linemen Nick McDonald and Markus Zusevics, find no rx cla defensive linemen Jake Bequette and Ron Brace, find no rx cla safety Derrick Martin, find no rx cla and fullback James Develin, find no rx cla who was promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster on Nov. Find no rx cla 28, find no rx cla but has yet to play.

Bolden: Return man

The Patriots made the expected move official roughly three hours before kickoff, find no rx cla 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 no rx cla a rookie from Mississippi, find no rx cla was suspended by the NFL on Nov. Find no rx cla 9 for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Find no rx cla He hadn’t played since Oct. Find no rx cla 14 at Seattle, find no rx cla when he injured a knee against the Seahawks. Find no rx cla The injury cost him two games, find no rx cla then the suspension added four more.

With 234 yards on 43 carries, find no rx cla Bolden came into the Texans game with the second-most rushing yards for the Patriots, find no rx cla and his 5.4-yard average led the team. Find no rx cla Stevan Ridley has been the workhorse since Bolden was forced out, find no rx cla gaining 486 yards in the six games Bolden missed.

Bolden declined interview requests Saturday, find no rx cla the first time he had been spotted in the locker room since the suspension was announced. Find no rx cla But he was ready to talk after the game, find no rx cla in which he played on special teams and got two late carries for 11 yards.

“Felt good, find no rx cla” Bolden said. Find no rx cla “Missing four weeks, find no rx cla you try not to get out of shape, find no rx cla you keep yourself active, find no rx cla it felt good getting out there for the first time.”

As for the suspension?

“It was a mistake. Find no rx cla Saddened that it happened, find no rx cla but the team kept going, find no rx cla so just got to keep moving forward, find no rx cla” Bolden said. Find no rx cla “Worked as hard as I could for as long as I could, find no rx cla 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 no rx cla The last team to force at least one turnover in every regular-season game was the 2010 Atlanta Falcons.

With the interception, find no rx cla the Patriots have now forced 34 takeaways, find no rx cla one behind the Chicago Bears. Find no rx cla Their plus-24 turnover differential continues to lead the league.

“We know we have a good defense here, find no rx cla we’ve played really well the last couple of weeks, find no rx cla” McCourty said. Find no rx cla “The biggest focus for us is just trying to build on that.”

Even when the Patriots fumbled the bounces went their way. Find no rx cla Ridley lost the ball on the Patriots’ first drive of the game, find no rx cla inside the Texans’ 5-yard-line, find no rx cla but Aaron Hernandez jumped on it to extend the drive. Find no rx cla On the next play, find no rx cla Hernandez caught a 7-yard touchdown pass.



Early in the fourth quarter, find no rx cla Woodhead fumbled after catching a screen pass and being hit from behind by J.J. Find no rx cla Watt. Find no rx cla The ball flew into the end zone, find no rx cla 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 no rx cla Ohio, find no rx cla and visited the Pro Football Hall of Fame, find no rx cla Canton is coming to you this week. Find no rx cla Well, find no rx cla at least it’s coming to Foxborough. Find no rx cla In recognition of the Hall of Fame’s 50th anniversary, find no rx cla the busts of the five former Patriots who have been enshrined — John Hannah, find no rx cla Andre Tippett, find no rx cla Nick Buoniconti, find no rx cla Mike Haynes, find no rx cla 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 no rx cla with Tippett, find no rx cla Haynes, find no rx cla and Martin serving as honorary captains.

Secondary injuries

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

Michael Whitmer can be reached at mwhitmer@globe.com. Find no rx cla Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.

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