Tension inevitably sways judgment, and it was only when Oval Talk watched a replay of 'Le Crunch' that it became apparent what good value England were for their 17-9 victory.
Not even the most myopic of England fans could claim it was a comfortable win for Martin Johnson's side, but after close analysis it is clear how much they deserved the result that keeps their Grand Slam hopes alive.
The victory offered more than enough proof that England continue to make progress in World Cup year - and for OT there were five good reasons why they can be cheerful:
1. The victory was based on attrition
When England went down to South Africa at Twickenham last November, doubts arose with regards to whether they were vulnerable against the world's best scrummaging teams. The Boks handed England a lesson that day and at times it looked like men against boys. England do have a young pack: when Sheridan went off injured against France the average age of their front row was 23, while flankers James Haskell and Tom Woods are only 25 and 24 respectively. In 2010, England struggled in the scrum against France, but on Saturday their forwards came of age and showed that no longer would they be pushed around. They came out on top in an attritional battle and the best thing for Johnson is that they are only going to get better as they mature.
2. England had significantly more scoring chances
It may have been tight and England may have looked second best for periods of the first half, but had they taken their chances they could have put France to the sword after the break. Both Chris Ashton and Mike Tindall had tries disallowed (the latter's looked good to OT), while England really should have scored when Jonny Wilkinson put Ashton into space late in the game. Shontayne Hape and Mark Cueto were also held up just short. Including the try by Ben Foden, that's six decent try-scoring chances to France's one, when Aurelien Rougerie failed to touch down Francois Trinh-Duc's chip ahead. Had England taken just two more of those chances it could well have been a thumping win.
3. Tactically they showed maturity
After a bright start, things did not go well for England in the first half and they were hampered by unforced errors and poor decision-making, not to mention the power of the French tackling. But it is to their credit that they turned things around after the interval and were much improved in the second half. Tactically, Johnson and his coaches got it spot on and England showed further evidence of their growing maturity by being able to implement their instructions. In particular, they were much more competitive at the breakdown where French counter-rucking had limited their supply of decent ball in the first half. England weren't at their best - but they still beat the reigning Six Nations champions.
4. Selection can make them stronger
England were short of several players through injury before the game - Lewis Moody, Tom Croft and Courtney Lawes - then lost Andrew Sheridan early on and Toby Flood soon after half-time. Yet they came through, which shows the depth of their squad. But OT believes Johnson could further improve his side by getting his midfield selection right. Stand-in skipper Tindall and Hape just aren't gelling and most importantly they are not providing the supply of ball their back three deserve. Some of their passing against France would have shamed a schoolboy centre, let alone an international. Tindall was a real handful against France, but as a combination they do not work because their strengths are too similar. Tindall's experience and galvanising effect on the squad demand his retention, but Johnson should recall Riki Flutey against Scotland, and maybe also give Matt Banahan more game time off the bench. Until he changes his centre combination, England will never fully realise the potential of their dangerous wide runners.
5. The strength of their replacements bench
Jonny Wilkinson's introduction had the most tangible impact of the replacements used against France when he slotted a penalty just short of 50 metres with his first touch of the game. Having him in reserve is a luxury for England, and not just for his goal-kicking prowess, as his try-saving tackle late on against Italy proved. Johnson's link with the 2003 World Cup-winning squad also includes experienced forwards Steve Thompson and Simon Shaw, both of whom are capable of very useful cameos off the bench. Scrum-half Danny Care, with his speed and growing maturity, is also a decent impact player, as is the giant Banahan. England have strength all through their squad and Johnson now has a bench he can truly rely on.