Coach Trent Robinson conceded the NRL season has all but slipped away from Sydney Roosters after they sunk to their ninth loss of the year, going down 32-20 to Canterbury.
The Roosters put in another error-strewn effort early to trail 18-0 after half an hour.
They rallied just before halftime, but mistakes again cost them dearly as the Bulldogs strung together back-to-back wins for just the second time this year at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.
No NRL side has made the finals from a 2-9 start.
The Roosters are set to be the first minor premiers to miss the finals the following season since they were the last side to do so in 2005 following Brad Fittler’s retirement.
“Every week we go into it feeling like ‘hey we are going to have a good day today’ and we are positive and we are tight … obviously moments like this we are down, it really hurts, it hurts a lot but it is getting away from us,” Robinson said.
“We are 11 games in. We have to find something.
“We pride ourselves on the way we play and we are not living up to that at the moment.”
The Roosters have enjoyed wins over South Sydney and last-placed Newcastle and sit second last ahead of the Knights on the NRL ladder.
After missing Mitchell Pearce, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Boyd Cordner for the early part of the year, they have failed to find another gear on the return of their star trio.
“We are back to our crew (so) we have to sort it out with the group we have,” Robinson said.
The Dogs are 7-4 and sit fifth on the ladder after 11 rounds ahead of the start of the State of Origin period.
In other round 11 matches, Adam Reynolds steered South Sydney to a 34-24 victory over St George Illawarra on Thursday and put himself in the frame for his NSW debut.
Johnathan Thurston kicked the match-winning field goal in North Queensland’s 19-18 win over Brisbane in Townsville on Friday in another epic encounter between the two sides.
Skipper Aaron Woods led Wests Tigers to a 20-12 defeat of Newcastle at Campbelltown on Saturday.
The 14th placed Warriors slumped to another embarrassing loss, labelled as “soft” by coach Andrew McFadden, beaten 38-12 at New Plymouth on Saturday.
Cronulla moved to the outright lead of the NRL for the first time in 16 years on the back of their 20-12 win over Manly at Shark Park on Sunday.
Ashley Taylor starred in Gold Coast’s upset 28-24 win over Penrith on Sunday.
Parramatta and Melbourne meet in the final match of round 11 on Monday.