The Seasiders' five-game unbeaten came to a dramatic end as Will Buckley put the Seagulls ahead and Matthew Upson bundled home his first Brighton goal.
Andrea Orlandi, David Lopez and Ashley Barnes (2) then all found the net as Brighton hit six with an own-goal by Dean Hammond the only consolation for Ince's men.
Ince said: "When you come to places like Brighton you need to start well. We looked leggy and we looked tired from the first minute to the last. We couldn't cope with their pace and technique.
"We needed to stay in the game for longer than nine minutes and we never got to grips with them. We were second best all over the park.
"One thing you can't say is that we didn't show fight. Look at the turmoil these players have been through. These players have been fighting all their careers. We're not a club with £25 million, a new stadium and a new training ground."
He added: "I'm not the sort of person who will allow the season to fizzle out. Before today we had conceded seven goals in our last 11 games, so to concede six in one game is disappointing.
"But it means we can say it was just a bad day at the office. We have two more
games to go, and we need to have a scotch, go to sleep and forget about it."