Jonathan Walters capitalised on mistakes from Karl Henry and Eduardo Vargas to give Stoke a two-goal lead at the Britannia Stadium, but Niko Kranjcar gave QPR hope before the break.
Redknapp watched on as his side posed more of an attacking threat in the second half and they could have been level on a number of occasions with better finishing.
However, the visitors were caught late on as Walters completed his hat-trick and have now lost each of their opening 11 away games in the league this term - the first top-flight team to do so since 1953-54.
"If you don't see the game and look at the score line you think 3-1 [looks easy]," he said.
"But if you were here, you look at that second half and see we were camped in their half second half, we just couldn't get the goal.
"It looks like we were well beaten, but that wasn't the case.
"We make individual errors, and it costs you, for 22 minutes I was thinking they [Stoke] were having a bad day, but suddenly we lose possession in a bad area and we're 1-0 down.
"At 2-1 I thought we could win the game, I felt we battered away but couldn't get the goal, if we'd have got one would've gone on and won. I couldn't have asked for more effort than what they gave.
"I am encouraged by it. We didn't come out and drop our heads, we came out on front foot and had a real go at it."
The defeat leaves QPR in the bottom three, and Redknapp says his current squad will have to get them out of trouble as bringing in new faces is unlikely before Monday's transfer deadline.
He added: "It's hard, I couldn't say if we'll get anyone in before the deadline, everyone is trying, but it's not easy in January to find players, especially this late."
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