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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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

All lined up

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

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

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

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

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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

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

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

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

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