Chris Boyd was left to rue missed tackles as Saints were edged out by Clermont Auvergne at Stade Marcel Michelin.
The black, green and gold delivered a brilliant attacking display, scoring six tries against the Top 14 leaders.
Teimana Harrison bagged a hat-trick, with Fraser Dingwall, Alex Mitchell and Cobus Reinach also scoring to earn Saints a bonus point in Challenge Cup Pool 1.
But Clermont scored seven tries in total, with a late Remi Grosso effort taking the losing bonus point away from Saints.
And Boyd said: "We've defended pretty well up to now and we've got a better than 90 per cent tackle accuracy in the past three games.
"We dropped off far too many tackles here and against some pretty powerful players our one-on-one tackles weren't good enough.
"But our primary objective was to try to get a bonus point and shore up our position for the play-offs going forward, and we achieved that.
"We talked before the game about the way Clermont defend and we felt we would have opportunities to score some tries if we were patient and accurate.
"But we had to defend well and we didn't in the end. We fell off too many tries and the intercept early on was particularly galling. It was a 14-point try really and who knows what would have unfolded if they hadn't got that.
"Like most of the punters I enjoyed the game, the boys have enjoyed playing it and they're disappointed they didn't come out on the right side of it, but it keeps us alive."