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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

“That was definitely a scheme play, free anabolic mass” Lloyd said. Free anabolic mass “We worked hard on that all week, free anabolic mass and when the opportunity presented itself, free anabolic mass Coach [Josh] McDaniels called it at the right time and we were able to take advantage of it.”

Lloyd took advantage of his opportunities, free anabolic mass catching seven passes for 89 yards, free anabolic mass his second-highest total of the season.

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

“Just a screen pass, free anabolic mass we do our best to block downfield, free anabolic mass and unfortunately the ball popped out, free anabolic mass” Lloyd said. Free anabolic mass “But we were there to make the play.”

All lined up

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

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

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

Another key starter also returned from injury, free anabolic mass with rookie defensive end Chandler Jones, free anabolic mass back after sitting out two games with an ankle injury.

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

“Felt good, free anabolic mass” Bolden said. Free anabolic mass “Missing four weeks, free anabolic mass you try not to get out of shape, free anabolic mass you keep yourself active, free anabolic mass it felt good getting out there for the first time.”

As for the suspension?

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

With the interception, free anabolic mass the Patriots have now forced 34 takeaways, free anabolic mass one behind the Chicago Bears. Free anabolic mass Their plus-24 turnover differential continues to lead the league.

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

Michael Whitmer can be reached at mwhitmer@globe.com. Free anabolic mass Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.

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