Geelong have zeroed in on wasteful goalkicking and poor defence as key reasons for their sudden AFL struggles.
After emerging as one of the early-season pacesetters, the Cats have stumbled with upset losses to Collingwood and Carlton.
Before those two games the Cats were being regarded as premiership contenders with a 7-1 record, but coach Chris Scott said on Monday night they never thought of themselves so highly.
"We forecast pre-season that we might have a few ebbs and flows," Scott told AFL360.
"I wouldn't concede that we played above our level in the first two months of the year, but certainly we're going through a flat spot at the moment - and it's multi-faceted.
"We're very aware of some of the problems, but I'm not exactly sure we have the whole picture nutted out just yet.
"I would contend we don't have any right to say we're one of the better teams in the competition."
Scott also noted that in the Collingwood and Carlton losses, Geelong had one more scoring shot than the opposition.
Scoring accuracy has emerged as a big problem - they were wasteful early against the Blues with 3.6.
"I agree completely with that," Scott said.
"I'd refer back to Hawthorn at their very best - if you give them chances, they finish.
"One of our issues is we're not finishing off our work with enough class and enough precision."
Sunday's game was also the first time this season that Carlton have scored more than 100 points.
"Our defensive game, overall, was really poor," Scott said.
"Carlton have played really well this year, they've set up really well defensively, but they've struggled to score.
"We just made it way too easy for them to score."
Scott said for Geelong to be at their best, they cannot afford any lapses.
"At my time at Geelong, we've always been a team that needs everything firing on all cylinders," he said.
"Maybe at our absolute best in 2011, we had games when we didn't play at our best, but we found a way to win.
"The subsequent four or five years, we've needed everything going right.
"So you compare ... our last fortnight to the previous fortnight, for example, and we have too many parts of our game that are way off."