The mood was sombre in the Panthers sheds after their 42-14 mauling at the hands of the Rabbitohs on Sunday.
The loss put the skids under their recent momentum, built through four straight wins followed by a narrow away loss to North Queensland.
With Penrith having led early, a stray pass from skipper Matt Moylan allowed Souths winger Alex Johnston to run the length for the first of his five tries and what was the first of seven unanswered four-pointers for the Rabbitohs.
A shattered Moylan shouldered the blame in the post-match press conference. His coach Anthony Griffin said it took more than one stray pass to ruin a game.
Moylan went a step further in the sheds after the game, approaching senior players separately to apologise for what he saw as his contribution to the loss.
The mood among the players was still somewhat sombre at a skills clinic for local juniors at the Penrith Academy on Monday, where senior prop James Tamou said the players ought to shoulder the blame equally and insisted Moylan wasn't to blame for the performance.
"[Moylan] came up to a few of the boys and sort of took [responsibility] on his own but it's an 80-minute game and 13 of us on the field," Tamou said.
"He was doing what a captain does (in taking responsibility) and everyone appreciated it but it was not his fault at all.
"He has nothing to apologise for as far as I'm concerned."
Tamou's fellow prop Tim Browne agreed.
"I don't think anyone should be apologising," Browne said.
"It's a team effort. It's not up to an individual if they had an error or two. Everyone's their own harshest critic."
The team desperately needs to regroup quickly for a must-win home clash against the high-flying Sea Eagles on Saturday and Tamou admitted the confidence took a hit on Sunday.
"The belief, it's a bit shaken at the moment," Tamou said.
"Coming off last week (a narrow 14-12 loss to the Cowboys in Townsville), even though it didn't show on the score board we took a lot of positives out and a lot of confidence defensively.
"Trying to take that into yesterday was tough. We just went backwards. We went a step backwards. We're trying to build and we felt like we were going all right then a score-line like that happens, it's always tough. We're just making it harder for ourselves to get into the top eight."
This article first appeared on NRL.com.