South Africa were a team with "no imagination, no innovation and no tries", a senior rugby writer said following their record 57-15 loss to New Zealand in Durban.
SuperSport website correspondent Gavin Rich blamed the game plan of Springboks coach Allister Coetzee for a Rugby Championship humiliation that surpassed a 36-point hiding from the All Blacks 13 years ago.
"They selected a team to win by kicking three pointers, so maybe you could not blame Morne Steyn for trying to drop a goal when the Boks were in a rare good attacking position," wrote Rich.
"That decision pretty much summed up the Boks in the home leg of the Rugby Championship," he said of a team that finished third, 20 points behind runaway winners New Zealand.
"(There was) no imagination, no innovation and no tries. Against the All Blacks, the limited game plan was never going to hold up."
South Africa scored only one try, from veteran winger Bryan Habana, in their last three southern hemisphere championship matches this season.
All the points in the last two Tests, a win over equally mediocre Australia and the thrashing from New Zealand, came via the boot of veteran Steyn.
The France-based fly-half kicked four penalties and two drop goals against the Wallabies and five penalties against the All Blacks.
Rich hailed the rampant All Blacks, who host Australia in Auckland on October 22 with a world-record 18th consecutive victory by a top-tier rugby nation at stake.
"Even the most fiercely partisan South African supporters should have been able to marvel at the sheer class and skill of the All Blacks."
Independent Media group writer Ashfak Mohamed also emphasised the lack of creativity in a Springbok side that has lost five of nine Tests this season, including two at home.
"While the Boks showed good abrasiveness, they were never going to beat the All Blacks with just a brute pack of forwards and Morne Steyn," he wrote.
"But that is all Allister Coetzee had in store and they received a rugby lesson from (All Blacks coach) Steve Hansen and his team."
Coetzee is scheduled to meet South African Super Rugby coaches this month to discuss the Springbok crisis.
But the coach appointed last April stressed after the ninth defeat in 10 Tests against New Zealand that he was using the best players available.
"We (current squad) are the only ones who can turn this around," he said.
"There are not many players out there that can really strengthen our squad."
South Africa face the Barbarians in London, England, Italy and Wales during November in an end-of-season tour to Europe.