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“We know we have a good defense here, we’ve played really well the last couple of weeks,” McCourty said. “The biggest focus for us is just trying to build on that.”
Even when the Patriots fumbled the bounces went their way. Ridley lost the ball on the Patriots’ first drive of the game, inside the Texans’ 5-yard-line, but Aaron Hernandez jumped on it to extend the drive. On the next play, Hernandez caught a 7-yard touchdown pass.
Early in the fourth quarter, Woodhead fumbled after catching a screen pass and being hit from behind by J.J. Watt. The ball flew into the end zone, 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, Ohio, and visited the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Canton is coming to you this week. Well, at least it’s coming to Foxborough. In recognition of the Hall of Fame’s 50th anniversary, the busts of the five former Patriots who have been enshrined — John Hannah, Andre Tippett, Nick Buoniconti, Mike Haynes, 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, with Tippett, Haynes, and Martin serving as honorary captains.
One downside to the Patriots’ victory was injuries to the defensive secondary. The Patriots announced injuries to Aqib Talib (hip) and Alfonzo Dennard (hamstring). Neither returned to the game after getting injured . . . With Julian Edelman out for the season with a foot injury, Wes Welker took over the Patriots’ punt return duties. He returned four for 50 yards, with a long of 31 . . . Welker also caught three passes, pushing his streak of consecutive regular-season games with a catch to 107 . . . Donte Stallworth made the most of his return to the Patriots. He caught only one pass from Brady, but the catch-and-run went for 63 yards and a touchdown in the third quarter, making it 28-0. It was a case of practice makes perfect, even if the practice had been a while ago. “That particular play is something we had worked on, even in the spring,’’ he said. “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. He put it up for me to catch it and that’s what I did.’’ . . . His team off until Wednesday, Celtics coach Doc Rivers was spotted on the sideline observing pregame warmups, wearing a Patriots red sweater and chatting up his Patriots counterpart, Bill Belichick. Also in on the conversation: Boston sports fan Mark Wahlberg. Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo was also at the game, wearing a No. 83 Patriots jersey . . . The Patriots extended their December winning streak to 13 games, dating to a 22-21 loss at Miami on Dec. 6, 2009. It ties the Patriots for the second-longest such streak with the Dallas Cowboys, who accomplished the feat from 1968-72. The record belongs to the San Diego Chargers, winners of 18 straight from 2006-09. New England also has won 21 straight games in the second half of the regular season. The Patriots went 8-0 in the second half of 2010, 8-0 in 2011, and have won their first five this season. The last loss from the back half of the schedule came in the regular-season finale in 2009, when the Patriots lost at Houston, 34-27 … In a pre-game Twitter message, self-described Patriots fan Donald Trump posted, “Good Luck to Bob Kraft, Tom Brady and Coach Bob Belichick tonight.” Needless to say, the Donald got plenty of unwanted attention for his fumble . . . Keep an eye out for Jerod Mayo on Tuesday. He’ll be joining Subway spokesman Jared Fogle during multiple appearances around town, thanking unassuming fans with a dozen acts of kindness.