It was tough to watch, in general. But not tough to watch in the same manner last season was tough to watch, but more so because we are better than yesterday's performance.
The first 20 minutes or so we played some quite scintillating stuff every now and then without threatening Robert Green too much. Steven Fletcher was unlucky not to have given us the lead after an incredible move and inch-perfect pass from Adam Johnson. Unfortunately, Green saved superbly and, much worse than that, Fletcher didn't do anything else...at all...nothing.
After such a dominant start there was a strange swing in momentum which seemed catalysed by a yellow card for Lee Cattermole. It was a booking, but it wasn't cynical you see those cards week in week out - but for whatever reason it changed the complexion of the game because it changed how good Catts was. He was his usual all-consuming presence in the middle up to that point but he, along with the rest of our midfield, completely lost their grip on the game afterwards.
QPR took full advantage of this, effectively bulldozing the ball over the line in the end as they relentlessly pummelled our back line. The defence held out very well until the last minute of the half, where Wes Brown completely lost Charlie Austin in the middle who was on hand to smash home a knockdown from a corner. It was the proverbial sucker punch before half time that we wouldn't recover from.
The second half was better. We regained some composure in the middle but the rest if the game justified my hesitancy with the initial team selection. Seb Larsson struggled all day long to make use of the ball (he had it a lot), Connor Wickham was completely ineffective on the wing and Fletcher was his usual anonymous self.
By the time Gus improved the side with substitutes (Emanuele Giaccherini and Will Buckley entering the fray with 20 minutes left), QPR had already set themselves up to hold onto their goal advantage and were supremely organised. There were a few long range efforts towards the end but nothing of note, we didn't come close to breaking them down. Would Jordi Gomez had made much of a difference? For me, definitely. The match panned out in such a way that it yearned for his calming yet calculated presence.
Credit must go to Rangers, they knew how we were going to line up, got their goal and knew how to stop us from scoring. 'Arry won the tactical battle.
Whilst the performance and result is immensely disappointing, I wouldn't say I'm worried yet. That could change if the necessary arrivals don't happen before the transfer window closes.
Never gets any easier this Sunderland-supporting malarkey - does it?