Saracens boss Mark McCall questioned the intelligence of his players after the defending European champions lost their third successive Premiership match with a 20-19 defeat to derby rivals Harlequins.
England scrum-half Danny Care conjured all three of Quins’ tries, including wing Tim Visser’s late clincher, after Sarries had led 10-5 at half-time and two Owen Farrell penalties had extended their advantage.
But Charlie Walker’s second try of the contest cut the deficit and paved the way for Visser to cross the line for his fourth Premiership try of the season as Quins climbed to seventh in the table.
Saracens have now lost five consecutive matches across all competitions and are in the midst of their worst sequence of results for a decade. McCall’s outfit are third in the table, nine points adrift of leaders and defending champions Exeter.
“We are hugely disappointed as we were the masters of our own downfall,” said McCall. “We chucked away a victory by not being bright and intelligent enough.
“We put a huge amount of effort in but ultimately it was wasted. Our defence was in charge of their attack for large periods.
“It is always concerning when you lose games you should have won. We gave away some terrible penalties on the halfway line and put ourselves under pressure.”
There was further bad news for Saracens as England lock Maro Itoje suffered a suspected broken jaw and is a major doubt for the weekend’s European Champions Cup showdown with Clermont Auvergne.
“Maro has gone to hospital with a facial injury so we’ll get an update in the next 24 hours,” added McCall.
England back Farrell surpassed 1,000 Premiership points in the first-half but it was the kicking majesty of Care which Quins director of rugby John Kingston was keen to highlight.
“Danny is a wonderful footballer who could have played professional football,” said Kingston. “His kicking today at the right time was extremely good.
“Saracens have a wonderful defence and that is a heck of a team we have managed to down. Every time you win you have to savour it as they are the European champions and still the litmus test.”