Ruckman Sam Jacobs concedes the Crows strayed from their structures and need to take “a good hard look” at themselves after a disappointing 57-point loss to the Western Bulldogs on Sunday.
Heading into the match undefeated and sitting top of the AFL ladder, Adelaide was never in the contest against the Dogs at Etihad Stadium.
The visitors were shell-shocked from the outset as the Bulldogs kicked six goals from 11 scoring shots in the opening term, while Adelaide managed just 1.1 (7) to quarter-time.
After an improved second term, the Crows went missing again after the main break. Adelaide recorded its first goalless quarter since Round Three of last season as the home side stretched its advantage to 75 points by the final change.
Jacobs said Adelaide’s lapses were costly and unacceptable.
“We lacked intensity at the start of the game,” Jacobs told afc.com.au.
“The Bulldogs are an up-and-coming team. If you give them a sniff they’ll go on with it and that’s what they did in the first quarter.
“They rushed us and hit us hard on the scoreboard. But you can’t afford to give any team a head-start these days.
“A lot of us need to go back and take a good hard look at ourselves after today.”
The best defensive team in the competition through the opening three rounds, Adelaide’s team defence buckled opposed to the Bulldogs’ pace and pressure. The Crows conceded an average of just 60 points against this season until Sunday’s loss, which saw the Western Bulldogs pile on 125 points from 35 scoring shots.
“I think boys just got caught retreating and started worrying about their own man too much, whereas we’re a team defence side," Jacobs said.
“We need blokes pressing up and harassing the ball-carrier at all times. We didn’t do that enough tonight.”
Jacobs was one of only a few players who could hold his head high after Sunday’s loss. The 202cm Crow won 43 hit-outs and four clearances along with 18 disposals to be the dominant ruckman on the ground.
But Adelaide failed to exploit Jacobs’ ascendency at the stoppages, burning the ball with poor decision-making and a kicking efficiency below 60 per cent. The Crows also recorded 17 clangers in the first half alone – the most of any side for a half so far this season.
“The Bulldogs were relentless with their pressure out of the midfield and forced us into mistakes,” Jacobs said.
“At times we kicked the ball too high and didn’t give our guys much of a chance.
“With players like Murphy and Boyd running around, they can really hurt you by foot if you give them the opportunity.
“We have to make sure we give the forwards the best chance and they have to make sure they’re bringing the ball to ground.”
Adelaide’s next challenge is against cross-town rivals Port Adelaide next Sunday at Adelaide Oval. It will be Phil Walsh’s first outing against his old side as Senior Coach.
Jacobs was confident the Crows could bounce back in what promises to one of the most anticipated Showdowns of recent times.
“We love playing in Showdowns,” he said.
“The whole state stops for it and there’s no better way for us to get back on track. Port is coming off a good win against Hawthorn, so it will be another great challenge for us next week.
“It’s going to be on next weekend.”