Antivert In Us
By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff
FOXBOROUGH — They might not have come right out and said it, antivert in us 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, antivert in us receiver Brandon Lloyd never broke stride, antivert in us blowing past the Texans who bit on the run possibility. Antivert in us He caught Brady’s pass without a defender near him, antivert in us coasting into the end zone and pushing the Patriots’ lead to 14-0 in a game they would win handily, antivert in us 42-14, antivert in us Monday night at Gillette Stadium.
“That was definitely a scheme play, antivert in us” Lloyd said. Antivert in us “We worked hard on that all week, antivert in us and when the opportunity presented itself, antivert in us Coach [Josh] McDaniels called it at the right time and we were able to take advantage of it.”
Lloyd took advantage of his opportunities, antivert in us catching seven passes for 89 yards, antivert in us his second-highest total of the season.
He scored two touchdowns, antivert in us the second coming on a fumble recovery in the end zone, antivert in us after Danny Woodhead lost the ball on a screen pass. Antivert in us The ball bounced forward, antivert in us with Lloyd diving on it. Antivert in us Not how it’s drawn up, antivert in us but the way the night went.
“Just a screen pass, antivert in us we do our best to block downfield, antivert in us and unfortunately the ball popped out, antivert in us” Lloyd said. Antivert in us “But we were there to make the play.”
All lined up
Since the start of the season, antivert in us the Patriots’ depth chart on the offensive line read more like a wish list than a realistic starting lineup, antivert in us with an assortment of injuries resulting in five different combinations.
For the first time in a month, antivert in us and just the sixth time this season, antivert in us the Patriots began the game with the five players who are designated by the team as its starters: Nate Solder at left tackle, antivert in us Logan Mankins at left guard, antivert in us Ryan Wendell at center, antivert in us Dan Connolly at right guard, antivert in us and Sebastian Vollmer at right tackle.
The group was made whole again with the return of Mankins, antivert in us who had missed three consecutive games — and five of six — with ankle and calf injuries. Antivert in us He was back at practice last week, antivert in us in a limited role, antivert in us but was in the starting lineup Monday night, antivert in us relegating Donald Thomas to reserve status.
Another key starter also returned from injury, antivert in us with rookie defensive end Chandler Jones, antivert in us back after sitting out two games with an ankle injury.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski missed his third straight game with a broken forearm. Antivert in us The other inactive players were offensive linemen Nick McDonald and Markus Zusevics, antivert in us defensive linemen Jake Bequette and Ron Brace, antivert in us safety Derrick Martin, antivert in us and fullback James Develin, antivert in us who was promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster on Nov. Antivert in us 28, antivert in us but has yet to play.
Bolden: Return man
The Patriots made the expected move official roughly three hours before kickoff, antivert in us 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, antivert in us a rookie from Mississippi, antivert in us was suspended by the NFL on Nov. Antivert in us 9 for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Antivert in us He hadn’t played since Oct. Antivert in us 14 at Seattle, antivert in us when he injured a knee against the Seahawks. Antivert in us The injury cost him two games, antivert in us then the suspension added four more.
With 234 yards on 43 carries, antivert in us Bolden came into the Texans game with the second-most rushing yards for the Patriots, antivert in us and his 5.4-yard average led the team. Antivert in us Stevan Ridley has been the workhorse since Bolden was forced out, antivert in us gaining 486 yards in the six games Bolden missed.
Bolden declined interview requests Saturday, antivert in us the first time he had been spotted in the locker room since the suspension was announced. Antivert in us But he was ready to talk after the game, antivert in us in which he played on special teams and got two late carries for 11 yards.
“Felt good, antivert in us” Bolden said. Antivert in us “Missing four weeks, antivert in us you try not to get out of shape, antivert in us you keep yourself active, antivert in us it felt good getting out there for the first time.”
As for the suspension?
“It was a mistake. Antivert in us Saddened that it happened, antivert in us but the team kept going, antivert in us so just got to keep moving forward, antivert in us” Bolden said. Antivert in us “Worked as hard as I could for as long as I could, antivert in us 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. Antivert in us The last team to force at least one turnover in every regular-season game was the 2010 Atlanta Falcons.
With the interception, antivert in us the Patriots have now forced 34 takeaways, antivert in us one behind the Chicago Bears. Antivert in us Their plus-24 turnover differential continues to lead the league.
“We know we have a good defense here, antivert in us we’ve played really well the last couple of weeks, antivert in us” McCourty said. Antivert in us “The biggest focus for us is just trying to build on that.”
Even when the Patriots fumbled the bounces went their way. Antivert in us Ridley lost the ball on the Patriots’ first drive of the game, antivert in us inside the Texans’ 5-yard-line, antivert in us but Aaron Hernandez jumped on it to extend the drive. Antivert in us On the next play, antivert in us Hernandez caught a 7-yard touchdown pass.
Early in the fourth quarter, antivert in us Woodhead fumbled after catching a screen pass and being hit from behind by J.J. Antivert in us Watt. Antivert in us The ball flew into the end zone, antivert in us 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, antivert in us Ohio, antivert in us and visited the Pro Football Hall of Fame, antivert in us Canton is coming to you this week. Antivert in us Well, antivert in us at least it’s coming to Foxborough. Antivert in us In recognition of the Hall of Fame’s 50th anniversary, antivert in us the busts of the five former Patriots who have been enshrined — John Hannah, antivert in us Andre Tippett, antivert in us Nick Buoniconti, antivert in us Mike Haynes, antivert in us 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, antivert in us with Tippett, antivert in us Haynes, antivert in us and Martin serving as honorary captains.
One downside to the Patriots’ victory was injuries to the defensive secondary. Antivert in us The Patriots announced injuries to Aqib Talib (hip) and Alfonzo Dennard (hamstring). Antivert in us Neither returned to the game after getting injured . Antivert in us . Antivert in us . Antivert in us With Julian Edelman out for the season with a foot injury, antivert in us Wes Welker took over the Patriots’ punt return duties. Antivert in us He returned four for 50 yards, antivert in us with a long of 31 . Antivert in us . Antivert in us . Antivert in us Welker also caught three passes, antivert in us pushing his streak of consecutive regular-season games with a catch to 107 . Antivert in us . Antivert in us . Antivert in us Donte Stallworth made the most of his return to the Patriots. Antivert in us He caught only one pass from Brady, antivert in us but the catch-and-run went for 63 yards and a touchdown in the third quarter, antivert in us making it 28-0. Antivert in us It was a case of practice makes perfect, antivert in us even if the practice had been a while ago. Antivert in us “That particular play is something we had worked on, antivert in us even in the spring, antivert in us’’ he said. Antivert in us “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. Antivert in us He put it up for me to catch it and that’s what I did.’’ . Antivert in us . Antivert in us . Antivert in us His team off until Wednesday, antivert in us Celtics coach Doc Rivers was spotted on the sideline observing pregame warmups, antivert in us wearing a Patriots red sweater and chatting up his Patriots counterpart, antivert in us Bill Belichick. Antivert in us Also in on the conversation: Boston sports fan Mark Wahlberg. Antivert in us Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo was also at the game, antivert in us wearing a No. Antivert in us 83 Patriots jersey . Antivert in us . Antivert in us . Antivert in us The Patriots extended their December winning streak to 13 games, antivert in us dating to a 22-21 loss at Miami on Dec. Antivert in us 6, antivert in us 2009. Antivert in us It ties the Patriots for the second-longest such streak with the Dallas Cowboys, antivert in us who accomplished the feat from 1968-72. Antivert in us The record belongs to the San Diego Chargers, antivert in us winners of 18 straight from 2006-09. Antivert in us New England also has won 21 straight games in the second half of the regular season. Antivert in us The Patriots went 8-0 in the second half of 2010, antivert in us 8-0 in 2011, antivert in us and have won their first five this season. Antivert in us The last loss from the back half of the schedule came in the regular-season finale in 2009, antivert in us when the Patriots lost at Houston, antivert in us 34-27 … In a pre-game Twitter message, antivert in us self-described Patriots fan Donald Trump posted, antivert in us “Good Luck to Bob Kraft, antivert in us Tom Brady and Coach Bob Belichick tonight.” Needless to say, antivert in us the Donald got plenty of unwanted attention for his fumble . Antivert in us . Antivert in us . Antivert in us Keep an eye out for Jerod Mayo on Tuesday. Antivert in us He’ll be joining Subway spokesman Jared Fogle during multiple appearances around town, antivert in us thanking unassuming fans with a dozen acts of kindness.
Michael Whitmer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Antivert in us Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.