Scotland coach Andy Robinson admitted "we have a lot to do" after the 32-14 defeat by Ireland left them facing a wooden spoon decider against Italy.
The Scots contributed to an entertaining match but still slumped to their sixth successive Test defeat and will finish bottom of the table if they lose in Rome on Saturday.
"This is not the position we wanted to be in. We have a lot of work to do this week if we are to beat Italy," Robinson said. "Rome is a tough place to go, even with a confident side. We have a lot to do this week."
Scotland, who crossed through Richie Gray with Greig Laidlaw kicking three penalties, trailed just 22-14 at the interval but failed to score again.
They dominated the third quarter but rarely troubled the Irish whitewash with substitute Fergus McFadden's late try pushing the home side out of sight.
"The second half was a step back. I don't want to quantify it. We didn't put any shape together," said Robinson "We didn't play well enough in the second half to win the game, which is very disappointing
"Our set-piece, the lineout in particular, didn't function as well as we'd have liked. We couldn't string more than three phases together and that's not good enough at this level. It's a mark of where we are as a side that we cause a lot of our own problems."
Ireland crossed through Rory Best, Eoin Reddan and Andrew Trimble in the first half in a four-try rout at Lansdowne Road.
"You get good days and bad days. Against Wales it was bitterly disappointing but the bottom line is we were six points up with eight minutes to go, at home, and we weren't able to close that out," said Best.
"In France, we were 17-6 up at half-time and didn't score a point in the second half. We produced a good performance tonight and that's what we wanted, but we're disappointed not to have won all of our games to date."