Since the final whistle sounded against Wales we had wondered if Ireland were as bad as we appeared against the Scots or as good as we seemed when turning it around in a matter of days against the Welsh.
Logically, the answer was always going to be 'somewhere in the middle' but, alas, we were shocking at Twickenham yesterday - save for two 10-minute spells, one after half-time and one before the end.
Like many observers, I was confused ahead of kick-off as quite frankly England - the final apart - performed at a different level to us at the World Cup, yet here we were just three months on and competing with the second best team in the world with Triple Crown and possibly Grand Slam-winning aspirations.
It seemed insane, and now we know it was. We were beaten out the gate and, aside perhaps from the lineout and scrum in the opening half, appeared a distant second in every facet of the game.
England, by contrast, attacked with purpose, kicked with logic and defended with mean-minded physicality. In terms of intensity, one team had it from the off and they sure weren't wearing green.
This was truly an abysmal effort, with the final scoreline providing little evidence of the demolition job that had unfolded.
Credit Ireland for the late effort. It made for a reasonably respectable bottom line at 24-12 and yet in no way did it reflect the English domination.
If the August white-flag performance at the same venue was a little unreal, this was the real deal and just what might it have been had the Vunipola brothers and Anthony Watson been on board.
We can slag off Eddie Jones and his loose-cannon comments all we want, but all this week in the build-up he played a straight bat and his team delivered the performance that he demanded.
By contrast, Andy Farrell was sold way short by the over-tried and over-trusted.
If Farrell is to make his name in the highest coaching circles then the time has come to front up to reality. Yet again at the weekend our U-20s under Noel McNamara delivered a quality of performance appropriate to the green shirt and modern game in style and substance.
If the French are willing to trust in the quality of their underage game and recent success at that level then why not us?
The new head coach now has the opportunity to make his stamp. Not through gradual transition but through bold selection against the Italians before heading to Paris for a Championship decider in which we will be rank outsiders anyway.
This is not rocket science. We are at a crossroads and it is time for the head coach to borrow from the late great Willie Duggan and 's**t or get off the pot'.
No more being Mr Nice Guy to any of the old guard who, while they have served Ireland well, are clearly operating on borrowed time.
Of course losing hurts but losing to this England team in the manner in which we did hurts even more.
They didn't just outmuscle us they outfoxed us, with and without the ball.
Their kicking out of hand whether from Elliot Daly, Ben Youngs, George Ford or Owen Farrell was varied and meaningful, unlike the Hail Mary stuff we project as some sort of constructive game-plan. It is caveman stuff.
In a game best forgotten, the only reasonable redeeming feature for an Irish viewpoint - and perhaps we are clutching at straws here - was when the subs poured on towards the end.
The game of course was long gone at that stage. We are now at crisis point unless this new coaching team acts decisively.
Maybe I'm being a bit unfair here but if there was an individual Irish performance of substance then I didn't see it. CJ Stander maybe, Robbie Henshaw in the second half possibly?
Let's put it this way: were a combined team being picked in the aftermath then I doubt a single Irish player, with the possible exception of Stander, would be in that frame. Stander will retain his place against the Italians but it won't be at No 8.
Every Irish player, including the captain, should be filled with trepidation ahead of Andy Farrell's next squad announcement. We are at a crossroads, irrespective of whether we are talking Six Nations or World Cup 2023. Our provincial game is in reasonable nick but our national side is in the course of transition and transition in my book means change.
Not for change's sake but because it is the right and most sensible thing to do. England suffocated us to death. They held us in a vice-grip for at least 60 of the 80 minutes.
I cannot recall as flat an Irish atmosphere at a competitive Twickenham game in a very long time. It was dead long before the spirited end.
Our rugby has become so staid and so predictable that I would hate to be a neutral watching us play.
By contrast, the opening 40 minutes by our U-20s against the same opposition in Franklin's Gardens on Friday represented sensible, quality rugby of the highest order. Winning rugby played with purpose and adventure and risk-free.
There is no reason in the wide world why that cannot be replicated at the highest level.
With Dan Leavy and Jack Conan on the mend, it's time to bring the likes of Caelan Doris, John Cooney, Max Deegan, Jack O'Sullivan, Ryan Baird, Will Addison, Rónan Kelleher on to the main stage.
Hopefully yesterday's embarrassment proves a watershed. It certainly makes for a golden opportunity for Farrell to become his own man.
Opportunity knocks for a new beginning but it must not be half-hearted. Over to you, Andy.