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