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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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

All lined up

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

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

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

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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

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

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

Michael Whitmer can be reached at mwhitmer@globe.com. Order discount daily best cats beef Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.

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