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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

FOXBOROUGH — They might not have come right out and said it, order no rx himplasia 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 no rx himplasia receiver Brandon Lloyd never broke stride, order no rx himplasia blowing past the Texans who bit on the run possibility. Order no rx himplasia He caught Brady’s pass without a defender near him, order no rx himplasia coasting into the end zone and pushing the Patriots’ lead to 14-0 in a game they would win handily, order no rx himplasia 42-14, order no rx himplasia Monday night at Gillette Stadium.

“That was definitely a scheme play, order no rx himplasia” Lloyd said. Order no rx himplasia “We worked hard on that all week, order no rx himplasia and when the opportunity presented itself, order no rx himplasia 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 no rx himplasia catching seven passes for 89 yards, order no rx himplasia his second-highest total of the season.

He scored two touchdowns, order no rx himplasia the second coming on a fumble recovery in the end zone, order no rx himplasia after Danny Woodhead lost the ball on a screen pass. Order no rx himplasia The ball bounced forward, order no rx himplasia with Lloyd diving on it. Order no rx himplasia Not how it’s drawn up, order no rx himplasia but the way the night went.

“Just a screen pass, order no rx himplasia we do our best to block downfield, order no rx himplasia and unfortunately the ball popped out, order no rx himplasia” Lloyd said. Order no rx himplasia “But we were there to make the play.”

All lined up

Since the start of the season, order no rx himplasia the Patriots’ depth chart on the offensive line read more like a wish list than a realistic starting lineup, order no rx himplasia with an assortment of injuries resulting in five different combinations.

For the first time in a month, order no rx himplasia and just the sixth time this season, order no rx himplasia the Patriots began the game with the five players who are designated by the team as its starters: Nate Solder at left tackle, order no rx himplasia Logan Mankins at left guard, order no rx himplasia Ryan Wendell at center, order no rx himplasia Dan Connolly at right guard, order no rx himplasia and Sebastian Vollmer at right tackle.

The group was made whole again with the return of Mankins, order no rx himplasia who had missed three consecutive games — and five of six — with ankle and calf injuries. Order no rx himplasia He was back at practice last week, order no rx himplasia in a limited role, order no rx himplasia but was in the starting lineup Monday night, order no rx himplasia relegating Donald Thomas to reserve status.

Another key starter also returned from injury, order no rx himplasia with rookie defensive end Chandler Jones, order no rx himplasia back after sitting out two games with an ankle injury.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski missed his third straight game with a broken forearm. Order no rx himplasia The other inactive players were offensive linemen Nick McDonald and Markus Zusevics, order no rx himplasia defensive linemen Jake Bequette and Ron Brace, order no rx himplasia safety Derrick Martin, order no rx himplasia and fullback James Develin, order no rx himplasia who was promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster on Nov. Order no rx himplasia 28, order no rx himplasia but has yet to play.

Bolden: Return man

The Patriots made the expected move official roughly three hours before kickoff, order no rx himplasia 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 no rx himplasia a rookie from Mississippi, order no rx himplasia was suspended by the NFL on Nov. Order no rx himplasia 9 for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Order no rx himplasia He hadn’t played since Oct. Order no rx himplasia 14 at Seattle, order no rx himplasia when he injured a knee against the Seahawks. Order no rx himplasia The injury cost him two games, order no rx himplasia then the suspension added four more.

With 234 yards on 43 carries, order no rx himplasia Bolden came into the Texans game with the second-most rushing yards for the Patriots, order no rx himplasia and his 5.4-yard average led the team. Order no rx himplasia Stevan Ridley has been the workhorse since Bolden was forced out, order no rx himplasia gaining 486 yards in the six games Bolden missed.

Bolden declined interview requests Saturday, order no rx himplasia the first time he had been spotted in the locker room since the suspension was announced. Order no rx himplasia But he was ready to talk after the game, order no rx himplasia in which he played on special teams and got two late carries for 11 yards.

“Felt good, order no rx himplasia” Bolden said. Order no rx himplasia “Missing four weeks, order no rx himplasia you try not to get out of shape, order no rx himplasia you keep yourself active, order no rx himplasia it felt good getting out there for the first time.”

As for the suspension?

“It was a mistake. Order no rx himplasia Saddened that it happened, order no rx himplasia but the team kept going, order no rx himplasia so just got to keep moving forward, order no rx himplasia” Bolden said. Order no rx himplasia “Worked as hard as I could for as long as I could, order no rx himplasia 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 no rx himplasia The last team to force at least one turnover in every regular-season game was the 2010 Atlanta Falcons.

With the interception, order no rx himplasia the Patriots have now forced 34 takeaways, order no rx himplasia one behind the Chicago Bears. Order no rx himplasia Their plus-24 turnover differential continues to lead the league.

“We know we have a good defense here, order no rx himplasia we’ve played really well the last couple of weeks, order no rx himplasia” McCourty said. Order no rx himplasia “The biggest focus for us is just trying to build on that.”

Even when the Patriots fumbled the bounces went their way. Order no rx himplasia Ridley lost the ball on the Patriots’ first drive of the game, order no rx himplasia inside the Texans’ 5-yard-line, order no rx himplasia but Aaron Hernandez jumped on it to extend the drive. Order no rx himplasia On the next play, order no rx himplasia Hernandez caught a 7-yard touchdown pass.



Early in the fourth quarter, order no rx himplasia Woodhead fumbled after catching a screen pass and being hit from behind by J.J. Order no rx himplasia Watt. Order no rx himplasia The ball flew into the end zone, order no rx himplasia 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 no rx himplasia Ohio, order no rx himplasia and visited the Pro Football Hall of Fame, order no rx himplasia Canton is coming to you this week. Order no rx himplasia Well, order no rx himplasia at least it’s coming to Foxborough. Order no rx himplasia In recognition of the Hall of Fame’s 50th anniversary, order no rx himplasia the busts of the five former Patriots who have been enshrined — John Hannah, order no rx himplasia Andre Tippett, order no rx himplasia Nick Buoniconti, order no rx himplasia Mike Haynes, order no rx himplasia 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 no rx himplasia with Tippett, order no rx himplasia Haynes, order no rx himplasia and Martin serving as honorary captains.

Secondary injuries

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

Michael Whitmer can be reached at mwhitmer@globe.com. Order no rx himplasia Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.

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