Shallaki In Canada

By Michael Whitmer | Globe Staff

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

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

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

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

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

All lined up

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

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

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

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

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

Bolden: Return man

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

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

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

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

As for the suspension?

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

With the interception, shallaki in canada the Patriots have now forced 34 takeaways, shallaki in canada one behind the Chicago Bears. Shallaki in canada Their plus-24 turnover differential continues to lead the league.

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

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

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

Secondary injuries

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

Michael Whitmer can be reached at Shallaki in canada Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.