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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

“Just a screen pass, l tryptophan in canada we do our best to block downfield, l tryptophan in canada and unfortunately the ball popped out, l tryptophan in canada” Lloyd said. L tryptophan in canada “But we were there to make the play.”

All lined up

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

For the first time in a month, l tryptophan in canada and just the sixth time this season, l tryptophan 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, l tryptophan in canada Logan Mankins at left guard, l tryptophan in canada Ryan Wendell at center, l tryptophan in canada Dan Connolly at right guard, l tryptophan in canada and Sebastian Vollmer at right tackle.

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

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

“Felt good, l tryptophan in canada” Bolden said. L tryptophan in canada “Missing four weeks, l tryptophan in canada you try not to get out of shape, l tryptophan in canada you keep yourself active, l tryptophan in canada it felt good getting out there for the first time.”

As for the suspension?

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

With the interception, l tryptophan in canada the Patriots have now forced 34 takeaways, l tryptophan in canada one behind the Chicago Bears. L tryptophan in canada Their plus-24 turnover differential continues to lead the league.

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

Michael Whitmer can be reached at mwhitmer@globe.com. L tryptophan 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