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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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

All lined up

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

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

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

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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

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

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

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

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