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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

Lloyd took advantage of his opportunities, order anacin cod catching seven passes for 89 yards, order anacin cod his second-highest total of the season.

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

“Just a screen pass, order anacin cod we do our best to block downfield, order anacin cod and unfortunately the ball popped out, order anacin cod” Lloyd said. Order anacin cod “But we were there to make the play.”

All lined up

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

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

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

Another key starter also returned from injury, order anacin cod with rookie defensive end Chandler Jones, order anacin cod back after sitting out two games with an ankle injury.

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

“Felt good, order anacin cod” Bolden said. Order anacin cod “Missing four weeks, order anacin cod you try not to get out of shape, order anacin cod you keep yourself active, order anacin cod it felt good getting out there for the first time.”

As for the suspension?

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

With the interception, order anacin cod the Patriots have now forced 34 takeaways, order anacin cod one behind the Chicago Bears. Order anacin cod Their plus-24 turnover differential continues to lead the league.

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

Michael Whitmer can be reached at mwhitmer@globe.com. Order anacin cod Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.

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