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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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

All lined up

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

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

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

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

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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

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

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

Michael Whitmer can be reached at mwhitmer@globe.com. Order pain relief patch Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.

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