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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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

All lined up

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

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

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

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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

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

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

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

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