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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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

All lined up

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

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

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

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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

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

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

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

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