Former Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan argues the situation is "recoverable" after the side's shock 19-12 loss to Japan in their second Rugby World Cup pool game.
Following the demolition of Scotland on the opening weekend, Ireland fans were already eyeing up a likely quarter-final meeting with South Africa but the loss in Fukuroi has blown Joe Schmidt's team off-course and livened up Pool A.
With the clock past 80 minutes, Joey Carbery opted to kick the ball dead and end the contest, a decision which raised some eyebrows as a converted try would have rescued a draw.
But with Ireland on their own try-line and in a state of near panic at the time, and with several backs - notably Luke McGrath - being forced to operate out of position, keeping the ball in play may have risked the losing bonus point.
That point does leave Ireland's fate in their own hands, as two winning bonus points against Russia and Samoa will guarantee them at worst runners-up spot in the pool.
Speaking on RTÉ's live coverage, O'Sullivan stressed that the the situation was recoverable but said it was crucial Schmidt did not allow heads to drop within the squad.
"It is (recoverable) because the next two games are winnable and winnable with bonus points.
"They're not strong teams. Russia must be on their last legs at this stage and Samoa have lost players to suspension. So, they're vulnerable.
"The tricky part here is that it maybe throws a curveball in terms of selections. I think if we won today, it went to plan, I think he would have let everybody rest and get everybody on the field.
"Now he's got to make sure we get a bonus point game against Samoa. Which is a dangerous game in the sense that if you make it open it could be tricky. You don't want to play an open game against Samoa.
"I don't think it's any reason to panic. This is a setback.
"You could imagine the squad environment or camp this week would have been on a high, everyone in great form after last week's result.
"This'll suck a lot of energy out of it. Fellas will feel very down and disappointed. He's got to not let that take any more energy out of the squad."
Jamie Heaslip also struck a relatively upbeat note, pointing to the quick turnaround to the Russia game - Ireland face Russia on Thursday in Kobe on Thursday - as a chance to get back on the horse.
"They'll all be reviewing the game this evening. I'd say most of them will probably watch it before they go to bed. It'll be cut up. They'll have the video first thing, they probably won't be on the field tomorrow.
"It's a quick turnaround and that's probably a good thing for them. And that's probably the best thing. For the guys who get picked.
"The guys who don't will have this hanging over them for two weeks now. And it's going to be really interesting to see who he changes.
"I expect a lot of changes because it's the same pack two weeks in a row. They simply have to get back on the horse and win this game."