The 30-year-old curled a brilliant free kick past Julio Cesar to snatch a 1-1 draw and take the Latics level on points with Sunderland in 17th place.
Roberto Martinez's team had played against 10 men for the majority of the match, after Bobby Zamora's 21st-minute red card, but were forced to rely on the Scot's set-piece to salvage a draw.
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"After the game we realised that for 85 minutes or so it was a disappointing performance from us. Our manager told us that at half-time.
"It wasn't quite good enough from us for large parts of the game. It wasn't because of nerves."
The former Celtic and Aston Villa player notched his fifth goal of the season at Loftus Road but conceded that the sending off of Zamora negatively affected his team.
"When they went down to 10 men they shifted into two banks of four with the lone threat up front. It probably had the opposite effect on us, we took our foot off the gas," added Maloney.
"We didn't want to, it's just something that spread throughout the team, particularly the forward players, myself included. The passing and movement off the ball just wasn't good enough."
The Scot says his side must improve, and is looking forward to their next game against Millwall at Wembley in the semi-final of the FA Cup.
"It would be great if we can get back to the type of performance we showed against Norwich and Newcastle. If we do that we'll have a better chance of winning," he said.
"Millwall are in the division below so people will make us favourites. That's just something we have to embrace.
"We need to match the workrate of Millwall, which is something we didn't do against QPR. We need to improve on yesterday's performance."
And while the Latics are fighting on two fronts, Maloney and his team have remained focused on their relegation battle.
"The cup is very important, but it hasn't been mentioned too much at the club until this week. It will be a big occasion," he added,
"The main priority of our season is to stay in the Premier League, but as you get further in the cup each round becomes more important."