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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

FOXBOROUGH — They might not have come right out and said it, find retin a 0.025% 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 retin a 0.025% cod receiver Brandon Lloyd never broke stride, find retin a 0.025% cod blowing past the Texans who bit on the run possibility. Find retin a 0.025% cod He caught Brady’s pass without a defender near him, find retin a 0.025% cod coasting into the end zone and pushing the Patriots’ lead to 14-0 in a game they would win handily, find retin a 0.025% cod 42-14, find retin a 0.025% cod Monday night at Gillette Stadium.

“That was definitely a scheme play, find retin a 0.025% cod” Lloyd said. Find retin a 0.025% cod “We worked hard on that all week, find retin a 0.025% cod and when the opportunity presented itself, find retin a 0.025% 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 retin a 0.025% cod catching seven passes for 89 yards, find retin a 0.025% cod his second-highest total of the season.

He scored two touchdowns, find retin a 0.025% cod the second coming on a fumble recovery in the end zone, find retin a 0.025% cod after Danny Woodhead lost the ball on a screen pass. Find retin a 0.025% cod The ball bounced forward, find retin a 0.025% cod with Lloyd diving on it. Find retin a 0.025% cod Not how it’s drawn up, find retin a 0.025% cod but the way the night went.

“Just a screen pass, find retin a 0.025% cod we do our best to block downfield, find retin a 0.025% cod and unfortunately the ball popped out, find retin a 0.025% cod” Lloyd said. Find retin a 0.025% cod “But we were there to make the play.”

All lined up

Since the start of the season, find retin a 0.025% cod the Patriots’ depth chart on the offensive line read more like a wish list than a realistic starting lineup, find retin a 0.025% cod with an assortment of injuries resulting in five different combinations.

For the first time in a month, find retin a 0.025% cod and just the sixth time this season, find retin a 0.025% 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 retin a 0.025% cod Logan Mankins at left guard, find retin a 0.025% cod Ryan Wendell at center, find retin a 0.025% cod Dan Connolly at right guard, find retin a 0.025% cod and Sebastian Vollmer at right tackle.

The group was made whole again with the return of Mankins, find retin a 0.025% cod who had missed three consecutive games — and five of six — with ankle and calf injuries. Find retin a 0.025% cod He was back at practice last week, find retin a 0.025% cod in a limited role, find retin a 0.025% cod but was in the starting lineup Monday night, find retin a 0.025% cod relegating Donald Thomas to reserve status.

Another key starter also returned from injury, find retin a 0.025% cod with rookie defensive end Chandler Jones, find retin a 0.025% 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 retin a 0.025% cod The other inactive players were offensive linemen Nick McDonald and Markus Zusevics, find retin a 0.025% cod defensive linemen Jake Bequette and Ron Brace, find retin a 0.025% cod safety Derrick Martin, find retin a 0.025% cod and fullback James Develin, find retin a 0.025% cod who was promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster on Nov. Find retin a 0.025% cod 28, find retin a 0.025% cod but has yet to play.

Bolden: Return man

The Patriots made the expected move official roughly three hours before kickoff, find retin a 0.025% 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 retin a 0.025% cod a rookie from Mississippi, find retin a 0.025% cod was suspended by the NFL on Nov. Find retin a 0.025% cod 9 for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Find retin a 0.025% cod He hadn’t played since Oct. Find retin a 0.025% cod 14 at Seattle, find retin a 0.025% cod when he injured a knee against the Seahawks. Find retin a 0.025% cod The injury cost him two games, find retin a 0.025% cod then the suspension added four more.

With 234 yards on 43 carries, find retin a 0.025% cod Bolden came into the Texans game with the second-most rushing yards for the Patriots, find retin a 0.025% cod and his 5.4-yard average led the team. Find retin a 0.025% cod Stevan Ridley has been the workhorse since Bolden was forced out, find retin a 0.025% cod gaining 486 yards in the six games Bolden missed.

Bolden declined interview requests Saturday, find retin a 0.025% cod the first time he had been spotted in the locker room since the suspension was announced. Find retin a 0.025% cod But he was ready to talk after the game, find retin a 0.025% cod in which he played on special teams and got two late carries for 11 yards.

“Felt good, find retin a 0.025% cod” Bolden said. Find retin a 0.025% cod “Missing four weeks, find retin a 0.025% cod you try not to get out of shape, find retin a 0.025% cod you keep yourself active, find retin a 0.025% cod it felt good getting out there for the first time.”

As for the suspension?

“It was a mistake. Find retin a 0.025% cod Saddened that it happened, find retin a 0.025% cod but the team kept going, find retin a 0.025% cod so just got to keep moving forward, find retin a 0.025% cod” Bolden said. Find retin a 0.025% cod “Worked as hard as I could for as long as I could, find retin a 0.025% 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 retin a 0.025% cod The last team to force at least one turnover in every regular-season game was the 2010 Atlanta Falcons.

With the interception, find retin a 0.025% cod the Patriots have now forced 34 takeaways, find retin a 0.025% cod one behind the Chicago Bears. Find retin a 0.025% cod Their plus-24 turnover differential continues to lead the league.

“We know we have a good defense here, find retin a 0.025% cod we’ve played really well the last couple of weeks, find retin a 0.025% cod” McCourty said. Find retin a 0.025% cod “The biggest focus for us is just trying to build on that.”

Even when the Patriots fumbled the bounces went their way. Find retin a 0.025% cod Ridley lost the ball on the Patriots’ first drive of the game, find retin a 0.025% cod inside the Texans’ 5-yard-line, find retin a 0.025% cod but Aaron Hernandez jumped on it to extend the drive. Find retin a 0.025% cod On the next play, find retin a 0.025% cod Hernandez caught a 7-yard touchdown pass.



Early in the fourth quarter, find retin a 0.025% cod Woodhead fumbled after catching a screen pass and being hit from behind by J.J. Find retin a 0.025% cod Watt. Find retin a 0.025% cod The ball flew into the end zone, find retin a 0.025% 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 retin a 0.025% cod Ohio, find retin a 0.025% cod and visited the Pro Football Hall of Fame, find retin a 0.025% cod Canton is coming to you this week. Find retin a 0.025% cod Well, find retin a 0.025% cod at least it’s coming to Foxborough. Find retin a 0.025% cod In recognition of the Hall of Fame’s 50th anniversary, find retin a 0.025% cod the busts of the five former Patriots who have been enshrined — John Hannah, find retin a 0.025% cod Andre Tippett, find retin a 0.025% cod Nick Buoniconti, find retin a 0.025% cod Mike Haynes, find retin a 0.025% 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 retin a 0.025% cod with Tippett, find retin a 0.025% cod Haynes, find retin a 0.025% cod and Martin serving as honorary captains.

Secondary injuries

One downside to the Patriots’ victory was injuries to the defensive secondary. Find retin a 0.025% cod The Patriots announced injuries to Aqib Talib (hip) and Alfonzo Dennard (hamstring). Find retin a 0.025% cod Neither returned to the game after getting injured . Find retin a 0.025% cod . Find retin a 0.025% cod . Find retin a 0.025% cod With Julian Edelman out for the season with a foot injury, find retin a 0.025% cod Wes Welker took over the Patriots’ punt return duties. Find retin a 0.025% cod He returned four for 50 yards, find retin a 0.025% cod with a long of 31 . Find retin a 0.025% cod . Find retin a 0.025% cod . Find retin a 0.025% cod Welker also caught three passes, find retin a 0.025% cod pushing his streak of consecutive regular-season games with a catch to 107 . Find retin a 0.025% cod . Find retin a 0.025% cod . Find retin a 0.025% cod Donte Stallworth made the most of his return to the Patriots. Find retin a 0.025% cod He caught only one pass from Brady, find retin a 0.025% cod but the catch-and-run went for 63 yards and a touchdown in the third quarter, find retin a 0.025% cod making it 28-0. Find retin a 0.025% cod It was a case of practice makes perfect, find retin a 0.025% cod even if the practice had been a while ago. Find retin a 0.025% cod “That particular play is something we had worked on, find retin a 0.025% cod even in the spring, find retin a 0.025% cod’’ he said. Find retin a 0.025% 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 retin a 0.025% cod He put it up for me to catch it and that’s what I did.’’ . Find retin a 0.025% cod . Find retin a 0.025% cod . Find retin a 0.025% cod His team off until Wednesday, find retin a 0.025% cod Celtics coach Doc Rivers was spotted on the sideline observing pregame warmups, find retin a 0.025% cod wearing a Patriots red sweater and chatting up his Patriots counterpart, find retin a 0.025% cod Bill Belichick. Find retin a 0.025% cod Also in on the conversation: Boston sports fan Mark Wahlberg. Find retin a 0.025% cod Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo was also at the game, find retin a 0.025% cod wearing a No. Find retin a 0.025% cod 83 Patriots jersey . Find retin a 0.025% cod . Find retin a 0.025% cod . Find retin a 0.025% cod The Patriots extended their December winning streak to 13 games, find retin a 0.025% cod dating to a 22-21 loss at Miami on Dec. Find retin a 0.025% cod 6, find retin a 0.025% cod 2009. Find retin a 0.025% cod It ties the Patriots for the second-longest such streak with the Dallas Cowboys, find retin a 0.025% cod who accomplished the feat from 1968-72. Find retin a 0.025% cod The record belongs to the San Diego Chargers, find retin a 0.025% cod winners of 18 straight from 2006-09. Find retin a 0.025% cod New England also has won 21 straight games in the second half of the regular season. Find retin a 0.025% cod The Patriots went 8-0 in the second half of 2010, find retin a 0.025% cod 8-0 in 2011, find retin a 0.025% cod and have won their first five this season. Find retin a 0.025% cod The last loss from the back half of the schedule came in the regular-season finale in 2009, find retin a 0.025% cod when the Patriots lost at Houston, find retin a 0.025% cod 34-27 … In a pre-game Twitter message, find retin a 0.025% cod self-described Patriots fan Donald Trump posted, find retin a 0.025% cod “Good Luck to Bob Kraft, find retin a 0.025% cod Tom Brady and Coach Bob Belichick tonight.” Needless to say, find retin a 0.025% cod the Donald got plenty of unwanted attention for his fumble . Find retin a 0.025% cod . Find retin a 0.025% cod . Find retin a 0.025% cod Keep an eye out for Jerod Mayo on Tuesday. Find retin a 0.025% cod He’ll be joining Subway spokesman Jared Fogle during multiple appearances around town, find retin a 0.025% cod thanking unassuming fans with a dozen acts of kindness.

Michael Whitmer can be reached at mwhitmer@globe.com. Find retin a 0.025% cod Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.

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