Brisbane coach Chris Fagan admits his midfield was "outhunted" by a more desperate Carlton side on Saturday, after the Lions were overrun by an inspired Blues outfit led by co-captain Patrick Cripps.

The Lions lost the contested ball by 23 and the clearances by 11 in a disappointing performance that saw Carlton turn a 37-point deficit into a shock 15-point victory.

In David Teague's first game as caretaker coach, the Blues were inspired by an imposing performance from Cripps, who kicked four goals from 38 disposals.

Fagan said the main reason why his side lost was Carlton's dominance in the clearances and contested possessions.

"They outhunted us, really," Fagan said. 

"Structurally, we tried different things to get us back in the game. We were sitting on Cripps until we thought, 'It's not helping us, we better just hunt ourselves' but it's a combination of all those things.

"They were more desperate than what we were. Our midfield has been fantastic for us this year, but today they lowered their colours." 

Fagan lauded the performance of Lachie Neale, who was the Lions' shining light with 31 touches and a goal, but said he needed more help from his teammates.

"(Neale) was a big influence, but (he's) not a one-man band in our midfield," Fagan said. 

"He still ended up with 30-odd touches, he just needed a few of his mates to have a better day."

Despite the Lions' contested possession woes on Saturday, Fagan said he did not believe his side lacked hunger inside the contest.

He suggested winning the contested ball more consistently came down to mindset. 

"We've had a lot of great contested-ball winning games this year, we've had a couple of bad ones," Fagan said. 

"What do you put it down to? Effort on the day? It's not technique, I don't think. It's just mindset, but generally speaking, we've been pretty consistent with it.

"I don't think it's an alarming trend or anything like that, but it's something you're always trying to get better at as well, and I'd love for us to be winning contested ball every week … but it didn't happen today."         

Saturday's clash was a huge missed opportunity for the Lions to cement their place in the top eight before the bye.

But Fagan pointed out his side was still miles ahead of where they were at the same stage last season.

"This time last year we were one win and 11 losses, we're now seven wins and five losses and a much more competitive team," he said.

"Today we had a bad day. We've got to learn from that, and we've got our bye now, so we've got to freshen up and get ready to bounce back."