Cheetahs captain Adriaan Strauss criticised his team's discipline and structure following the 52-31 loss to the Crusaders.
The loss was the Cheetahs' sixth of the season, having won only one game out of eight in 2014.
It's a far cry from last year when the Cheetahs finished in a playoff spot.
Saturday saw the Cheetahs produce an impressive fightback from 26-10 down to lead 26-31, but they couldn't finish the game off just as they had failed to do a week earlier in the 43-43 draw with the Chiefs.
"We were in it at times, but our performance was nowhere near good enough," said Strauss.
"Our own discipline and our structures where left wanting. Going into a line-out without having a call, kicking plays that we don't use optimally.
"That put us under immense pressure and then we scrambled. And then you are in your own half against the Crusaders and they will always capitalise on that. We need to make a step up in our discipline and our own structures."
Strauss insisted that there was no need to panic, but down in 14th position with only the Stormers beneath them it seems unlikely that the Cheetahs will have anything to compete for in 2014.
"We take it week-by-week. We want to play good rugby and if we can, the results will follow," added Strauss.
"At the moment we aren't where we want to be. We need to have a look at ourselves and work hard.
"We are still positive and there is no need to panic. We will be back next weekend against the Sharks."