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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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

All lined up

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

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

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

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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

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

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

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

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