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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

“That was definitely a scheme play, hip & joint chews cats in canada” Lloyd said. Hip & joint chews cats in canada “We worked hard on that all week, hip & joint chews cats in canada and when the opportunity presented itself, hip & joint chews cats in canada Coach [Josh] McDaniels called it at the right time and we were able to take advantage of it.”

Lloyd took advantage of his opportunities, hip & joint chews cats in canada catching seven passes for 89 yards, hip & joint chews cats in canada his second-highest total of the season.

He scored two touchdowns, hip & joint chews cats in canada the second coming on a fumble recovery in the end zone, hip & joint chews cats in canada after Danny Woodhead lost the ball on a screen pass. Hip & joint chews cats in canada The ball bounced forward, hip & joint chews cats in canada with Lloyd diving on it. Hip & joint chews cats in canada Not how it’s drawn up, hip & joint chews cats in canada but the way the night went.

“Just a screen pass, hip & joint chews cats in canada we do our best to block downfield, hip & joint chews cats in canada and unfortunately the ball popped out, hip & joint chews cats in canada” Lloyd said. Hip & joint chews cats in canada “But we were there to make the play.”

All lined up

Since the start of the season, hip & joint chews cats in canada the Patriots’ depth chart on the offensive line read more like a wish list than a realistic starting lineup, hip & joint chews cats in canada with an assortment of injuries resulting in five different combinations.

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

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

Another key starter also returned from injury, hip & joint chews cats in canada with rookie defensive end Chandler Jones, hip & joint chews cats in canada back after sitting out two games with an ankle injury.

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

Bolden: Return man

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

With 234 yards on 43 carries, hip & joint chews cats in canada Bolden came into the Texans game with the second-most rushing yards for the Patriots, hip & joint chews cats in canada and his 5.4-yard average led the team. Hip & joint chews cats in canada Stevan Ridley has been the workhorse since Bolden was forced out, hip & joint chews cats in canada gaining 486 yards in the six games Bolden missed.

Bolden declined interview requests Saturday, hip & joint chews cats in canada the first time he had been spotted in the locker room since the suspension was announced. Hip & joint chews cats in canada But he was ready to talk after the game, hip & joint chews cats in canada in which he played on special teams and got two late carries for 11 yards.

“Felt good, hip & joint chews cats in canada” Bolden said. Hip & joint chews cats in canada “Missing four weeks, hip & joint chews cats in canada you try not to get out of shape, hip & joint chews cats in canada you keep yourself active, hip & joint chews cats in canada it felt good getting out there for the first time.”

As for the suspension?

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

With the interception, hip & joint chews cats in canada the Patriots have now forced 34 takeaways, hip & joint chews cats in canada one behind the Chicago Bears. Hip & joint chews cats in canada Their plus-24 turnover differential continues to lead the league.

“We know we have a good defense here, hip & joint chews cats in canada we’ve played really well the last couple of weeks, hip & joint chews cats in canada” McCourty said. Hip & joint chews cats in canada “The biggest focus for us is just trying to build on that.”

Even when the Patriots fumbled the bounces went their way. Hip & joint chews cats in canada Ridley lost the ball on the Patriots’ first drive of the game, hip & joint chews cats in canada inside the Texans’ 5-yard-line, hip & joint chews cats in canada but Aaron Hernandez jumped on it to extend the drive. Hip & joint chews cats in canada On the next play, hip & joint chews cats in canada Hernandez caught a 7-yard touchdown pass.



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

Secondary injuries

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

Michael Whitmer can be reached at mwhitmer@globe.com. Hip & joint chews cats in canada Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.

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