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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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

All lined up

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

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

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

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

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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

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

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

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

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