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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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

All lined up

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

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

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

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

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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

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

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

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

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