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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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

All lined up

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

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

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

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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

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

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

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

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