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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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

All lined up

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

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

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

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

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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

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

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

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

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