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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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

All lined up

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

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

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

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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

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

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

Michael Whitmer can be reached at mwhitmer@globe.com. Omnicef 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