The Highlanders pushed St Johnstone all the way for third place and a Europa League place last season, but there was a clear gulf between the sides at McDiarmid Park today as County crashed to a third successive defeat in the Scottish Premiership.
Nigel Hasselbaink and David Wotherspoon put the Perth side two goals to the good inside 20 minutes and while the latter missed from the penalty spot just before half-time, it matted little in the overall scheme of things.
Stevie May and Dave Mackay netted in the second half to seal a comprehensive win for St Johnstone, which left Adams acknowledging County were thoroughly outclassed.
"St Johnstone were far better than us and deserved to win the match," Adams said. "They've got a vastly experienced side. They passed, created chances and probably bullied us on the park.
"We didn't play well defensively and offensively we didn't cause them trouble.
"St Johnstone are physically stronger, with the experience they have in their back four.
"They're not the prettiest guys but they do the ugly side of the game very well."
County remain pointless in the league after their opening three matches, with Adams sounding a rallying call following the latest setback today.
"We were rock solid last season with the second best defensive record," he added.
"We changed personnel today and other players have come in. They haven't performed well enough and we have to get back to doing the basics right.
"The older players that were here last season have to pull up their socks."
St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright felt the performance was the best he had seen during his near two years on the coaching staff.
"It was super," he said. "Since I've been at the club it's probably been the best performance from start to finish.
"We totally dominated and controlled the game. The number of chances we created caused them problems all day.
"They've set the standard. We are good defensively and we made it really difficult for them when they did have the ball, which wasn't very often."
Meanwhile, Wright revealed there had been no fresh bids for May from Peterborough and urged the club to set a deadline on the forward's future before the end of the month.
"Since Wednesday there have been no further developments," Wright said.
"I've spoken to the chairman and I feel that we have to put a deadline on it to be fair to ourselves.
"I don't want him going right on deadline day. I think we've got to look after ourselves and if he does go, he goes in plenty of time for us to get someone to replace him."