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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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

All lined up

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

For the first time in a month, find rhinocort online and just the sixth time this season, find rhinocort online the Patriots began the game with the five players who are designated by the team as its starters: Nate Solder at left tackle, find rhinocort online Logan Mankins at left guard, find rhinocort online Ryan Wendell at center, find rhinocort online Dan Connolly at right guard, find rhinocort online and Sebastian Vollmer at right tackle.

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

Another key starter also returned from injury, find rhinocort online with rookie defensive end Chandler Jones, find rhinocort online back after sitting out two games with an ankle injury.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski missed his third straight game with a broken forearm. Find rhinocort online The other inactive players were offensive linemen Nick McDonald and Markus Zusevics, find rhinocort online defensive linemen Jake Bequette and Ron Brace, find rhinocort online safety Derrick Martin, find rhinocort online and fullback James Develin, find rhinocort online who was promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster on Nov. Find rhinocort online 28, find rhinocort online but has yet to play.

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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

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

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

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

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