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By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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

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

All lined up

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

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

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

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

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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

With the interception, viagra blog the Patriots have now forced 34 takeaways, viagra blog one behind the Chicago Bears. Viagra blog Their plus-24 turnover differential continues to lead the league.

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

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



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

Secondary injuries

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

Michael Whitmer can be reached at mwhitmer@globe.com. Viagra blog Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.

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