Harlequins boss Paul Gustard insisted 'we're not 18 points worse than Northampton Saints' after his side lost 40-22 at Franklin's Gardens on Friday night.
Quins shipped four tries during the first 38 minutes of the match with Taqele Naiyaravoro proving too hot to handle as he scored twice in a typically brutal showing.
Teimana Harrison and Mike Haywood also dotted down before the break, with Harrison rounding things off during the second period.
Quins did manage to score three tries of their own as Cadan Murley doubled up and Chris Robshaw also registered.
And Gustard, who had seen his side take a 3-0 lead before going 27-3 down, said: "The first three minutes were outstanding. They gave away penalty after penalty and unfortunately the reward was only three points not seven.
"After that, we made an error from the restart and then missed three tackles on the big fella on the wing (Naiyaravoro).
"We missed a tackle on Tom Wood, who wriggled out, we had their number and then the lose the ball over the line, it goes backwards and they have a bit of luck.
"We were 14 points worse off and then we gave away an intercept try because we thought we needed to chase the game when there were 60 minutes to go, which is ludicrous.
"We then gave away a penalty for offside and they kicked the ball to the corner and scored from the maul so when you actually look at it, they weren't cutting us to shreds.
"It was one guy (Naiyaravoro) who caused the problems with his physicality on the sides.
"We pride ourselves on our intensity and urgency in defence and we lacked that in the first 20 or 30 minutes.
"We caused them a lot of problems, we cut them all over the place, we had more linebreaks than they did and one of their guys caused us more problems than most.
"Our management of the game wasn't good enough, we were too flat in attack and we turned over the ball too many times but the sign of how much pressure we put them under was that they gave away 15 penalties to our seven.
"It was quite late before a yellow card was issued (to Alex Coles) despite them being warned 20 minutes into the second half.
"Ultimately, we weren't good enough in the first 30 minutes but there were some positives in the second half in terms of how we came back and dusted ourselves off because we're not 18 points worse than Northampton Saints. Of that I'm certain.
"We just gave them too much of a leg up in the first 10 minutes."