Sunderland picked up their first win of the season by inflicting a first defeat of the campaign on Stoke, who endured a defensive horror show.
Asmir Begovic fumbled Titus Bramble's shot as Stoke fell behind in the fifth minute and Sunderland were 3-0 ahead before the half-hour mark.
Jonathan Woodate headed into his own net before Craig Gardner's deflected shot looped over Begovic.
Sebastian Larsson's free-kick made it 4-0 on a day to forget for Stoke.
It was hard to believe that Sunderland had mustered just two points before Sunday's game, with the win moving Steve Bruce's side up from second-from-bottom to 12th in the table.
Bruce flummoxed by 'mass hysteria'
Bruce left out captain Lee Cattermole, though the feisty midfielder was scarcely missed, with David Vaughan impressing in his first Premier League start for Sunderland since his move from Blackpool.
There might have been elements of fortune in Sunderland's three first-half goals but the second and third were preceded by impressive passages of possession football.
Stoke, who started the day in fifth place, had the chance of moving into the top four had they won but their hopes of doing so quickly unravelled when Begovic fumbled Bramble's shot following a corner to give the Sunderland defender his first goal for the club.
Travelling is not an excuse - Pulis
The visitors had played Dynamo Kiev in the Europa League on Thursday in the Ukraine but Stoke can hardly plead tiredness given manager Tony Pulis made eight changes to his side for Sunday's game.
Perhaps of more importance was the lack of commitment and organisation that had been key to their recent 1-0 league win over Liverpool - instead mistake after mistake, with a smattering of misfortune here and there.
Woodgate was the next player to err as he attempted to stop Larsson's dipping pass reaching Niklas Bendtner only to head the ball past Begovic.
Misfortune rather than individual error led to Sunderland's third as Ryan Shawcross attempted to block Gardner's shot but only succeeding in diverting the ball past Stoke's Bosnian goalkeeper.
Stoke barely functioned as an attacking unit in that first-half shambles - with Peter Crouch particularly anonymous - though Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet did well to get a hand to Marc Wilson's free-kick, while Bramble also blocked a Cameron Jerome shot.
DID YOU KNOW...
Sunderland trebled their season's goals tally with 4-0 win over Stoke
Pulis's side looked more threatening at the start of the second half but any hopes of a revival were extinguished when Larsson's cleverly flighted free-kick made it 4-0.
It might have been five had Bendtner got more of a connection to the ball following a cross from the left from Kieran Richardson.
Substitute Kenwyne Jones also might have done better in a late Stoke counterattack but he allowed Sunderland's defence to regroup and his shot was blocked by Bramble.
Sunderland manager Steve Bruce:
"If you get off to a good start in the Premier League and if you score first then 80% of the time you win.
"The mass hysteria that has engulfed us for the last two weeks after the defeat against Newcastle has surprised me. We finished 10th last season, but we lose against Newcastle and all hell breaks loose.
"Fans are fed by the media but when they are writing this nonsense - one had me gone in 48 hours - some of the journalists have to look at themselves.
"I've had stick all my life, but you don't become immune to the frenzy and nothing will derail me from the job of competing around the top 10 and given my squad and a bit of time I'm confident we can do that."
Stoke manager Tony Pulis:
"We make no excuses about the effects of travelling to Kiev. When you think of what happened in South Wales and the deaths of the miners - it is ridiculous to make travelling an excuse.
"We live in a bubble. My players earn more in a week than those men working underground do in a year and we need to burst that bubble to see what is happening in the outside world.
"The first three goals - the corner was mishit for the first, the second was an own goal and the third was deflected - you wonder if it was going to be our day. It was disappointing and we have to move on.
"We've been successful and we have to handle that and not to look for excuses. This period is one of the great times at this football club, but you get times when things don't go well."
Unfair challenge on David Vaughan by Wilson Palacios results in a free kick. Titus Bramble restarts play with the free kick.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Nicklas Bendtner by Dean Whitehead. Kieran Richardson takes the free kick.
Direct free kick taken by John O'Shea.
Substitution Stephane Sessegnon goes off and Dong-Won Ji comes on.
Marc Wilson challenges Ahmed Elmohamady unfairly and gives away a free kick.
Wilson Palacios challenges Stephane Sessegnon unfairly and gives away a free kick. John O'Shea takes the direct free kick.
David Vaughan fouled by Dean Whitehead, the ref awards a free kick. Wes Brown restarts play with the free kick.
Peter Crouch is penalised for a handball. Simon Mignolet restarts play with the free kick.
Stephane Sessegnon takes a shot. Blocked by Robert Huth. Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Craig Gardner from the left by-line, Asmir Begovic makes a save.
Substitution Wilson Palacios replaces Rory Delap.
Headed effort from close range by Robert Huth goes wide left of the target.
Substitution Jermaine Pennant is brought on as a substitute for Matthew Etherington.
Substitution Sebastian Larsson goes off and Jack Colback comes on.
Substitution Kenwyne Jones comes on in place of Cameron Jerome.
Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Matthew Etherington, save made by Simon Mignolet.
Stephane Sessegnon provided the assist for the goal.
57:56 Goal scored
Goal - Sebastian Larsson - Sunderland 4 - 0 Stoke Sebastian Larsson hits the back of the net with a fantastic goal direct from the free kick from just outside the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Sunderland 4-0 Stoke.
Robert Huth gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Stephane Sessegnon.
Simon Mignolet takes the free kick.
Booking Robert Huth receives a caution.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Robert Huth on Simon Mignolet.
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Matthew Etherington from the right by-line, Wes Brown makes a clearance.
Asmir Begovic restarts play with the free kick.
Booking Booking for Sebastian Larsson.
Craig Gardner challenges Cameron Jerome unfairly and gives away a free kick.
Sebastian Larsson takes a outswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post, clearance made by Jonathan Woodgate. Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Sebastian Larsson.
The ball is delivered by Jonathan Walters, Peter Crouch takes a shot.
Nicklas Bendtner is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Free kick taken by Asmir Begovic.
The referee starts the second half.
45:00 +1:45 Half time
Half Time The match has reached half-time.
David Vaughan takes a shot. Asmir Begovic makes a save.
Cameron Jerome has an effort at goal. Blocked by Wes Brown.
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Matthew Etherington played to the near post, Craig Gardner manages to make a clearance.
Foul by David Vaughan on Dean Whitehead, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Robert Huth.
Peter Crouch takes a shot. Save made by Simon Mignolet.
Sebastian Larsson has an effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right of the target.
Nicklas Bendtner gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Peter Crouch. Free kick taken by Jonathan Woodgate.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Kieran Richardson on Jonathan Walters. Free kick crossed left-footed by Matthew Etherington, Sebastian Larsson manages to make a clearance.
Stephane Sessegnon takes a shot. Save made by Asmir Begovic.
Ahmed Elmohamady gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Dean Whitehead. Direct free kick taken by Asmir Begovic.
Foul by Wes Brown on Jonathan Walters, free kick awarded. Free kick crossed left-footed by Matthew Etherington from right wing, clearance made by Wes Brown. Pass corner from right by-line taken by Matthew Etherington to short, save made by Simon Mignolet.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Dean Whitehead by Craig Gardner. Free kick taken by Jonathan Woodgate.
Foul by Ahmed Elmohamady on Robert Huth, free kick awarded. Matthew Etherington takes the direct free kick.
Nicklas Bendtner provided the assist for the goal.
27:37 Goal scored
Goal - Craig Gardner - Sunderland 3 - 0 Stoke Craig Gardner fires in a goal from just outside the penalty area to the top right corner of the goal. Sunderland 3-0 Stoke.
The ball is sent over by Kieran Richardson.
Unfair challenge on Stephane Sessegnon by Jonathan Woodgate results in a free kick. Sebastian Larsson takes the free kick.
Dean Whitehead has shot on goal from just outside the area which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
The ball is crossed by Ahmed Elmohamady, save by Asmir Begovic.
Foul by Sebastian Larsson on Peter Crouch, free kick awarded. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Matthew Etherington from right wing, clearance by Wes Brown.
Unfair challenge on Ahmed Elmohamady by Rory Delap results in a free kick. Sebastian Larsson restarts play with the free kick.
Foul by Craig Gardner on Dean Whitehead, free kick awarded. Robert Huth restarts play with the free kick.
Sebastian Larsson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Cameron Jerome. Direct strike on goal from the free kick comes in from Marc Wilson, Simon Mignolet makes a save.
Robert Huth takes a shot. Blocked by Wes Brown.
Assist on the goal came from Sebastian Larsson.
10:12 Goal scored
Goal - Jonathan Woodgate - Sunderland 2 - 0 Stoke Own goal by Jonathan Woodgate. Sunderland 2-0 Stoke.
Sebastian Larsson produces a cross.
Unfair challenge on Cameron Jerome by Craig Gardner results in a free kick. Asmir Begovic restarts play with the free kick.
Sebastian Larsson takes the outswinging corner, clearance by Peter Crouch.
4:40 Goal scored
Goal - Titus Bramble - Sunderland 1 - 0 Stoke Titus Bramble finds the net with a goal from deep inside the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Sunderland 1-0 Stoke.
Corner taken by Sebastian Larsson, Jonathan Woodgate manages to make a clearance. Corner taken by Sebastian Larsson played to the near post,
The ref blows the whistle to start the match.
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