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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

“That was definitely a scheme play, slimpulse free delivery” Lloyd said. Slimpulse free delivery “We worked hard on that all week, slimpulse free delivery and when the opportunity presented itself, slimpulse free delivery Coach [Josh] McDaniels called it at the right time and we were able to take advantage of it.”

Lloyd took advantage of his opportunities, slimpulse free delivery catching seven passes for 89 yards, slimpulse free delivery his second-highest total of the season.

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

“Just a screen pass, slimpulse free delivery we do our best to block downfield, slimpulse free delivery and unfortunately the ball popped out, slimpulse free delivery” Lloyd said. Slimpulse free delivery “But we were there to make the play.”

All lined up

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

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

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

Another key starter also returned from injury, slimpulse free delivery with rookie defensive end Chandler Jones, slimpulse free delivery back after sitting out two games with an ankle injury.

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

“Felt good, slimpulse free delivery” Bolden said. Slimpulse free delivery “Missing four weeks, slimpulse free delivery you try not to get out of shape, slimpulse free delivery you keep yourself active, slimpulse free delivery it felt good getting out there for the first time.”

As for the suspension?

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

With the interception, slimpulse free delivery the Patriots have now forced 34 takeaways, slimpulse free delivery one behind the Chicago Bears. Slimpulse free delivery Their plus-24 turnover differential continues to lead the league.

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

Michael Whitmer can be reached at mwhitmer@globe.com. Slimpulse free delivery Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.

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