If you believed some of the things you heard and read in the last two weeks, Ian Foster needed to be sacked and so did Sam Cane. New Zealand's players in general were mediocre, and the All Black Apocalypse was at hand.
So how did the All Blacks manage, in their 38-0 win over the Pumas, to play a game as complete and domineering as almost any I've seen in 50 years of reporting on test matches?
Because the hysteria after poor performances against Australia and Argentina was ridiculous. Hysterical demands Foster be dumped after one season ignored the fact that as well as two rubbish games in Australia, the All Blacks had earlier belted the Wallabies twice, 27-7 at Eden Park and 43-5 in Sydney.
I don't like Jekyll and Hyde All Black teams either, but to ignore all the good and only feast on the bad, is as prejudiced and stupid as pretending nothing had gone wrong when they lost.
What happened in the thrashing of the Pumas in Newcastle on Saturday night covered all the bases that had been of concern. Some won't like to admit it, but the commitment and rugby smarts that brought that improvement was spearheaded by Foster and Cane.
Discipline? After some childish All Black reactions two weeks ago to the strutting, bar-room bully antics the Pumas use to goad opposing teams, this time there was just one lapse in concentration by the All Blacks. Tyrel Lomax used a forearm to the head to try to clean out at a breakdown, and he was righty given a yellow card. It's worth noting that the card came in the 81st minute. Until then the discipline had been flawless.
Commitment? At breakdowns the All Blacks swarmed, flying into mauls and rucks so hard that first Aaron Smith and then TJ Perenara had the armchair rides that had so rarely occurred in the 25-15 loss to the Pumas a fortnight ago. On attack the All Blacks hit the defensive line with relentless velocity, playing so accurately, and retaining the ball so well, they forced the Pumas to make 90 tackles in the first half, and 59 in the second.
Control? At halftime, despite totally dominating the game, the All Blacks only led 10-0. But they didn't doubt themselves. Like great All Black teams of the past they knew that so much pressure was being applied that the Pumas would eventually fall to bits, and that's exactly what happened. In the last 16 minutes the All Blacks scored 21 points.
Set pieces? The rugby culture in Argentina is so macho, it makes Kiwi rugby look like a rest home sewing circle. They like skilled, kicking first-fives like Hugo Porta and Nicolás Sánchez. But the men they really love are those whose massive heads grow directly out of their shoulders, no neck front rowers like Enrique "Topo (The Mole)" Rodríguez and Agustín Creevy, who can wreck opposing scrums and make grown props cry. So the fact that in Newcastle the All Blacks monstered the Argentine scrum would have been the ultimate humiliation.
Yes, the Pumas fielded two young props on Saturday, but when they brought on veteran Nahel Tetaz Chaparro, they were still humbled.
Tactics? Changing the points of attack, and bringing Caleb Clarke and Jordie Barrett in off the wings to use their explosiveness in the midfield, meant it was no longer easy for Argentina to drift out and smother attacks on the sidelines. The only ploy that was over-used, and failed to work even once, involved the attempts, two each by Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo'unga, to use a kick pass to the wings, with the team on attack inside the Pumas' 22. The kick pass is a thing of beauty when it works, but against good defences its success rate is questionable.
That quibble aside the resounding win was hugely impressive. New Zealand has the Bledisloe Cup and they'll now win the Tri Nations.
Does that mean every issue is now resolved, and we can look forward to a triumphal march to World Cup victory in 2023? Of course not. That'd be as inane as the thinking that the All Blacks were doomed because of two losses.
What matters now is that the leadership of Cane and Foster functions next year as well as it obviously has in the fortnight leading to Saturday's win. Foster's contract, as it should, will be reviewed at the end of next year, not on kneejerk reactions now.
The good news is that some terrific fresh talent has emerged at test level for him to work with. Akira Ioane, so cruelly robbed of more game time in Sydney against Australia because of the red card for Ofa Tuungafasi, was outstanding against the Pumas.
Ioane's work rate at breakdowns was huge, his lineouts skills flawless, and, in an odd twist, he showed how much he's matured as a player in the 45th minute by actually doing nothing. Pumas flanker Marcos Kremer, for no discernible reason, roughly grabbed Aaron Smith as a scrum was resetting. Ioane stood up and eyeballed Kremer, whose bizarre antics went unpenalised. At no stage did Ioane lift a hand, grab Kremer's jersey, or slap him. With a referee as trigger happy as Nic Berry it was wise behaviour. Ioane now shapes as the man to fill the huge hole left by the departure of Jerome Kaino.
The two tries by Will Jordan, whose reflexes are matched by his blistering leg speed, were a masterclass in seizing the day. The All Blacks may never have to play a test again when the temperature is 30C, but if a new era starts to develop next year, time in the sauna that was McDonald Jones Stadium will have been the foundation.
Finally, while Tasman's 13-12 win over Auckland in the final of the Mitre 10 Cup was, as their coach Clarke Dermody said, "ugly", it was still a mighty effort from a team where the player pool is mostly drawn from two towns, Nelson and Blenheim, that have a combined population of just 80,000 people.
In retaining the title Tasman also provided a reminder of what a fearless, gifted player Davd Havili is, and showed that in the new crop of wings yet to play for the All Blacks, Leicester Faingaanuku heads the pack.