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