Of greater concern was the way Bolton shot themselves in the foot with all three Fulham goals coming from defensive mistakes.
Gary Megson's side were clear favourites after three successive home wins, in stark contrast to the Cottagers who had scored just three goals on the road in a season-long winless run away from home.
But they never got up to speed and Cahill admitted too many players failed to perform.
"We went into the game on the back of some good form at home so it was not a good performance to say the least," he said.
"We were lucky to come in 1-1 at half-time and I felt we couldn't go out in the second half and play as badly as we did, it was a very sloppy performance.
"It wasn't much of a spectacle, to say it was the Premier League it was a terrible game.
"The tempo was so slow it was almost like a training match and a few mistakes have cost us.
"Defensively as a team we were terrible. Our retention of the ball was terrible, a lot of things were terrible.
"We were all over the place, out of shape as a whole team, and you can't carry a couple of players.
"A lot of players had below-average games, that is their own fault. I'll analyse my own game and I know the lads will.
"The lads and everyone need to have a look at themselves."
However, if Bolton do get dragged into the relegation battle, Cahill, who was the one player to escape criticism from Megson yesterday, believes they have the stomach for the fight after beating the drop last season.
"It (the defeat) has brought us back involved but we've been in this situation before so the lads need to get together because next week is massively important," said the 23-year-old, referring to the trip to bottom club West Brom.
"We should be getting points and we haven't. We should have made it a lot easier for ourselves."
Cahill's centre-back partner Andy O'Brien had an awful day, poking the ball past his own goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen in the 42nd minute to allow Andrew Johnson to slide in at the far post and score.
Kevin Davies' 11th goal of the season in first-half injury time levelled things up but 11 minutes after the interval another mistake by O'Brien let Johnson and Danny Murphy set up Simon Davies to add a second.
And the game was already over by the time Gavin McCann's loose pass into midfield was converted into a late third goal by substitute Diomansy Kamara.
Fulham manager Roy Hodgson said all the facts around their away record were of little relevance to him.
"I've never been a great lover of statistics. It always seems to me we are top of a league with statistics or bottom of it so I'm not that bothered about it," he said.
"We have been on the cusp for many occasions. It has not been a mental block, it was just one of those things.
"It was such an important victory but we are not safe yet, 37 points I don't think will be enough to keep us in the league.
"It was last year, 36 and goal difference was enough to keep us up, but I feel we are going to need more.
"But the way the team has performed all season it would be unbelievably harsh on us if we don't keep our Premier League status."