Neurontin In Us
By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff
FOXBOROUGH — They might not have come right out and said it, neurontin in us 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, neurontin in us receiver Brandon Lloyd never broke stride, neurontin in us blowing past the Texans who bit on the run possibility. Neurontin in us He caught Brady’s pass without a defender near him, neurontin in us coasting into the end zone and pushing the Patriots’ lead to 14-0 in a game they would win handily, neurontin in us 42-14, neurontin in us Monday night at Gillette Stadium.
“That was definitely a scheme play, neurontin in us” Lloyd said. Neurontin in us “We worked hard on that all week, neurontin in us and when the opportunity presented itself, neurontin in us Coach [Josh] McDaniels called it at the right time and we were able to take advantage of it.”
Lloyd took advantage of his opportunities, neurontin in us catching seven passes for 89 yards, neurontin in us his second-highest total of the season.
He scored two touchdowns, neurontin in us the second coming on a fumble recovery in the end zone, neurontin in us after Danny Woodhead lost the ball on a screen pass. Neurontin in us The ball bounced forward, neurontin in us with Lloyd diving on it. Neurontin in us Not how it’s drawn up, neurontin in us but the way the night went.
“Just a screen pass, neurontin in us we do our best to block downfield, neurontin in us and unfortunately the ball popped out, neurontin in us” Lloyd said. Neurontin in us “But we were there to make the play.”
All lined up
Since the start of the season, neurontin in us the Patriots’ depth chart on the offensive line read more like a wish list than a realistic starting lineup, neurontin in us with an assortment of injuries resulting in five different combinations.
For the first time in a month, neurontin in us and just the sixth time this season, neurontin in us the Patriots began the game with the five players who are designated by the team as its starters: Nate Solder at left tackle, neurontin in us Logan Mankins at left guard, neurontin in us Ryan Wendell at center, neurontin in us Dan Connolly at right guard, neurontin in us and Sebastian Vollmer at right tackle.
The group was made whole again with the return of Mankins, neurontin in us who had missed three consecutive games — and five of six — with ankle and calf injuries. Neurontin in us He was back at practice last week, neurontin in us in a limited role, neurontin in us but was in the starting lineup Monday night, neurontin in us relegating Donald Thomas to reserve status.
Another key starter also returned from injury, neurontin in us with rookie defensive end Chandler Jones, neurontin in us back after sitting out two games with an ankle injury.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski missed his third straight game with a broken forearm. Neurontin in us The other inactive players were offensive linemen Nick McDonald and Markus Zusevics, neurontin in us defensive linemen Jake Bequette and Ron Brace, neurontin in us safety Derrick Martin, neurontin in us and fullback James Develin, neurontin in us who was promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster on Nov. Neurontin in us 28, neurontin in us but has yet to play.
Bolden: Return man
The Patriots made the expected move official roughly three hours before kickoff, neurontin in us 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, neurontin in us a rookie from Mississippi, neurontin in us was suspended by the NFL on Nov. Neurontin in us 9 for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Neurontin in us He hadn’t played since Oct. Neurontin in us 14 at Seattle, neurontin in us when he injured a knee against the Seahawks. Neurontin in us The injury cost him two games, neurontin in us then the suspension added four more.
With 234 yards on 43 carries, neurontin in us Bolden came into the Texans game with the second-most rushing yards for the Patriots, neurontin in us and his 5.4-yard average led the team. Neurontin in us Stevan Ridley has been the workhorse since Bolden was forced out, neurontin in us gaining 486 yards in the six games Bolden missed.
Bolden declined interview requests Saturday, neurontin in us the first time he had been spotted in the locker room since the suspension was announced. Neurontin in us But he was ready to talk after the game, neurontin in us in which he played on special teams and got two late carries for 11 yards.
“Felt good, neurontin in us” Bolden said. Neurontin in us “Missing four weeks, neurontin in us you try not to get out of shape, neurontin in us you keep yourself active, neurontin in us it felt good getting out there for the first time.”
As for the suspension?
“It was a mistake. Neurontin in us Saddened that it happened, neurontin in us but the team kept going, neurontin in us so just got to keep moving forward, neurontin in us” Bolden said. Neurontin in us “Worked as hard as I could for as long as I could, neurontin in us 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. Neurontin in us The last team to force at least one turnover in every regular-season game was the 2010 Atlanta Falcons.
With the interception, neurontin in us the Patriots have now forced 34 takeaways, neurontin in us one behind the Chicago Bears. Neurontin in us Their plus-24 turnover differential continues to lead the league.
“We know we have a good defense here, neurontin in us we’ve played really well the last couple of weeks, neurontin in us” McCourty said. Neurontin in us “The biggest focus for us is just trying to build on that.”
Even when the Patriots fumbled the bounces went their way. Neurontin in us Ridley lost the ball on the Patriots’ first drive of the game, neurontin in us inside the Texans’ 5-yard-line, neurontin in us but Aaron Hernandez jumped on it to extend the drive. Neurontin in us On the next play, neurontin in us Hernandez caught a 7-yard touchdown pass.
Early in the fourth quarter, neurontin in us Woodhead fumbled after catching a screen pass and being hit from behind by J.J. Neurontin in us Watt. Neurontin in us The ball flew into the end zone, neurontin in us 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, neurontin in us Ohio, neurontin in us and visited the Pro Football Hall of Fame, neurontin in us Canton is coming to you this week. Neurontin in us Well, neurontin in us at least it’s coming to Foxborough. Neurontin in us In recognition of the Hall of Fame’s 50th anniversary, neurontin in us the busts of the five former Patriots who have been enshrined — John Hannah, neurontin in us Andre Tippett, neurontin in us Nick Buoniconti, neurontin in us Mike Haynes, neurontin in us 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, neurontin in us with Tippett, neurontin in us Haynes, neurontin in us and Martin serving as honorary captains.
One downside to the Patriots’ victory was injuries to the defensive secondary. Neurontin in us The Patriots announced injuries to Aqib Talib (hip) and Alfonzo Dennard (hamstring). Neurontin in us Neither returned to the game after getting injured . Neurontin in us . Neurontin in us . Neurontin in us With Julian Edelman out for the season with a foot injury, neurontin in us Wes Welker took over the Patriots’ punt return duties. Neurontin in us He returned four for 50 yards, neurontin in us with a long of 31 . Neurontin in us . Neurontin in us . Neurontin in us Welker also caught three passes, neurontin in us pushing his streak of consecutive regular-season games with a catch to 107 . Neurontin in us . Neurontin in us . Neurontin in us Donte Stallworth made the most of his return to the Patriots. Neurontin in us He caught only one pass from Brady, neurontin in us but the catch-and-run went for 63 yards and a touchdown in the third quarter, neurontin in us making it 28-0. Neurontin in us It was a case of practice makes perfect, neurontin in us even if the practice had been a while ago. Neurontin in us “That particular play is something we had worked on, neurontin in us even in the spring, neurontin in us’’ he said. Neurontin in us “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. Neurontin in us He put it up for me to catch it and that’s what I did.’’ . Neurontin in us . Neurontin in us . Neurontin in us His team off until Wednesday, neurontin in us Celtics coach Doc Rivers was spotted on the sideline observing pregame warmups, neurontin in us wearing a Patriots red sweater and chatting up his Patriots counterpart, neurontin in us Bill Belichick. Neurontin in us Also in on the conversation: Boston sports fan Mark Wahlberg. Neurontin in us Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo was also at the game, neurontin in us wearing a No. Neurontin in us 83 Patriots jersey . Neurontin in us . Neurontin in us . Neurontin in us The Patriots extended their December winning streak to 13 games, neurontin in us dating to a 22-21 loss at Miami on Dec. Neurontin in us 6, neurontin in us 2009. Neurontin in us It ties the Patriots for the second-longest such streak with the Dallas Cowboys, neurontin in us who accomplished the feat from 1968-72. Neurontin in us The record belongs to the San Diego Chargers, neurontin in us winners of 18 straight from 2006-09. Neurontin in us New England also has won 21 straight games in the second half of the regular season. Neurontin in us The Patriots went 8-0 in the second half of 2010, neurontin in us 8-0 in 2011, neurontin in us and have won their first five this season. Neurontin in us The last loss from the back half of the schedule came in the regular-season finale in 2009, neurontin in us when the Patriots lost at Houston, neurontin in us 34-27 … In a pre-game Twitter message, neurontin in us self-described Patriots fan Donald Trump posted, neurontin in us “Good Luck to Bob Kraft, neurontin in us Tom Brady and Coach Bob Belichick tonight.” Needless to say, neurontin in us the Donald got plenty of unwanted attention for his fumble . Neurontin in us . Neurontin in us . Neurontin in us Keep an eye out for Jerod Mayo on Tuesday. Neurontin in us He’ll be joining Subway spokesman Jared Fogle during multiple appearances around town, neurontin in us thanking unassuming fans with a dozen acts of kindness.
Michael Whitmer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Neurontin in us Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.