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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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

All lined up

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

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

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

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

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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

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

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

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

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