Two weeks after claiming six tries in their record victory over the Wallabies, the All Blacks attack has hit the skids to confront all-too-familiar problems with resolute rush defence.
Poor discipline, execution, sloppy set-piece work and a lack of urgency at the breakdown will all be touch points as the All Blacks embark on a soul-searching 12 days before their chance to avenge their first defeat to the Pumas.
But one of the most baffling concerns is how an attack that shredded the Wallabies in Sydney has since regressed so sharply in the past two defeats.
One line break against the Pumas says everything about the All Blacks attack on Saturday.
The Pumas deserve credit for the passionate intent they brought to their defensive duties that regularly rattled the All Blacks. Argentina made 90 per cent of their tackles (152/168) but the performance of the All Blacks attack in the 25-15 loss, specifically the predictability of continuing to hit front runners, made their task a lot easier.
"There's no doubt about that - we do need more variety," All Blacks coach Ian Foster admitted. "If you look at Eden Park and Sydney it was the variety we were willing to use that created the opportunity."
In this regard, Foster refers to the cross-field and short chip kicks the All Blacks playmakers used to create and exploit space against the Wallabies.
Against the Pumas, not until the second half did the All Blacks remotely deviate from set plans. There was little thought to changing the point of contact by going more direct or attacking the short side which paid dividends in previous weeks.
"I don't think it's any one person, one part," Foster said. "We are really cognisant that the last two weeks we've looked clumsy with the ball. I've spoken about not being reactive enough to situations that are in front of us rather than stuff we've trained.
"We're getting used to a few new systems and there's a feeling we're getting too programmed in some aspects and there's no doubt we need to tweak that. That's high on the agenda. We're working in that space and we've got to get there quicker.
"I felt we made some real progress a couple of weeks ago but for some reason we've gone backwards in the last two weeks in that area of reacting to what the defence is giving us and we've got to relook at what we're doing.
"We've got some great players who are good at doing that but for some reason we've got the blinkers on and we need to change it."
Struggles to combat strong defensive teams are nothing new for the All Blacks. South Africa, England, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions all caused problems by employing a variety of line speed systems – whether that be rushing the midfield or jamming from the outside in.
Near every time the All Blacks attempted to send one of their bigger ball carriers crashing forward against Argentina they were met strongly and often driven back. This allowed the Pumas to slow the All Blacks at their breakdown source which gave the defensive line time to reset. With predictability of the All Blacks attack, this sequence dominated the contest.
"When we get those things right people don't talk about line speed being a problem. When you don't get them right line speed becomes the tough thing to deal with. If you attack the wrong area and you don't get your carry and the decisions around that right then you're forced to try and play through rush defence or a kicking game.
"In the first half we kicked really poorly, particularly from the back, we gave loose possession away when we needed to put them under pressure."
Two wins from five tests; successive defeats for the first time in nine years and myriad areas to amend are sure to fuel the fire as the All Blacks attempt to respond from their worst performance since the World Cup semifinal defeat to England.
Reigniting their attacking weapons by backing themselves and playing what they see rather than being so prescriptive will, clearly, be a major focus.
"People expect us to respond all the time but we are learning some tough lessons at the moment. I know there will be judgment on the team and we accept that because that's the environment we live in. I know there's a whole lot of players and management who are learning very quickly about test match rugby and the challenges of it.
"We're all very proud of this country we represent and we know everyone will be disappointed and we hate that. There are a lot of people that are hurt. At times like this it's easy to doubt what you're doing and to start second guessing. We've made some really good progress but then taken two big steps back and we need to fix it."