Rapid Reaction: Houston Texans

HOUSTON -- Thoughts from the Houston Texans' 34-31 loss to the New England Patriots at Reliant Stadium on Sunday.

What it means: The Texans remain at the bottom of the league at 2-10, but showed more life on Sunday than they have in past weeks. The end result was familiar to the Texans, though, and another step in their march toward what could be the No. 1 overall draft pick.

Stock watch: Quarterback Case Keenum followed his worst game of the season with a better showing. It was a mixture of good and bad for the young quarterback. Keenum showed some lack of awareness in the pocket, but showed poise on some throws and got his first rushing touchdown in the NFL. Keenum threw for 272 yards, completing 15 of 28 passes. He threw one interception and no touchdowns.

Running game makes progress: What was a productive part of the Texans' offense last season struggled in 2013. The Texans scored only two rushing touchdowns in their first 11 games. Against the Patriots, they scored four -- three by Ben Tate and one on a 5-yard run by Keenum. Tate had his ankle examined and wrapped on the sideline in the first half, but that didn't prevent him from having his best game of the season. It's no coincidence that, with a productive run game, the Texans' offense was able to keep pace with the Patriots' offense.

Defense bends in the second half: The Texans' defense played a solid first half -- the Patriots had only 108 yards passing -- but its second-half pass defense struggled. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady finished the game with 371 yards passing, two touchdowns and an interception.

What's next: The Texans travel to Jacksonville for a nationally televised Thursday night game. They'll be only 11 days removed from the last matchup between the teams. While the Texans weren't supposed to have any trouble with the Jaguars in their first meeting, they had plenty.