Six Nations 2017: Scotland suffer 'worst kind of nightmare' in record England hiding
Had the grim reaper visited Vern Cotter at his bedside in the middle of Friday night into Saturday morning and presented the Scotland coach with a picture of what horrible fate would befall his team at Twickenham, it could not have been any more terrifying than the reality.
For the Scots and their much talked-about revival, this was perspective. Way, way too much perspective. It wasn't just a slap in the face, it was a kick to the solar plexus and a proper shoeing in the aftermath.
A record hiding. A shellacking to end all shellackings. Swing Low Sweet Chariot rung out around Twickenham in the last minutes, a hymn to a thunderously impressive team as they laid siege to the Scottish line in pursuit of an even bigger victory over Scotland than the one they had - which was already the biggest of all time.
They got over for their seventh try with the last play and they deserved it. Sixty-one points. For the Scots, it was a form of sporting torture.
The surreal thing is that Scotland's unrelenting Kafkaesque nightmare began after just two minutes when Fraser Brown was put in the bin. While he was there, the game was won and lost. Just like that.
English power, English pace, English points. Lots and lots of them. Eddie Jones did his stuff. In this Six Nations there hasn't been much, if any, evidence of frailties in the Scotland midfield but Jones saw some and, Lord, how England executed.
They threw a dummy runner at Alex Dunbar and Huw Jones, a little bit of deception that created a very large hole and the opening try for Jonathan Joseph. Scotland were spooked now. The might of Twickenham closed in on them. Stuart Hogg dropped a high ball and a minute later it was 10-0. Brown came back on to the field, overthrew his first line-out and suddenly it was 13-0.
Then it all got weird as well as woeful. Hogg disappeared for a head injury assessment and wasn't seen again - another colossal blow to Scotland's morale.
Mark Bennett came on, got injured after a few minutes and then went off again. Tommy Seymour was now playing full-back, Ali Price was on the right wing, Henry Pyrgos was scrum-half. Deckchairs. Rearranged. Titanic.
Joseph raced through the Scottish midfield for a second one-phase try after 25 minutes and in that moment a giant jumbo jet appeared in the skies above Twickenham. Metaphorically, the visiting fans were on it. In body they were still there cheering their team. In mind, they were out of there.
Gordon Reid's try wasn't so much of a sign of a comeback as a consolation. After half an hour. And even when the prop blasted over, and Russell converted, Scotland's death-wish kicked in again.
More Scottish indiscipline gave Farrell another shot at goal and the centre knocked over his kick. At 23-7 the Scots were on the canvas. The misery was in seeing them having to get up only to get knocked down again.
Two minutes after Farrell's penalty, Joseph plunged the knife deeper, exposing the midfield defence and teeing-up Anthony Watson. That was just before half-time. Just after, Joseph got his hat-trick. A third single-phase score, a continuation of the catastrophe.
England were an angry and focused team. All the chat about their slow starts to games was dynamited to kingdom come, all the talk about them having not played particularly well in this Six Nations was consigned to the rubbish bin. This was a mighty response. A vicious deconstruction of Scotland's momentum.
Another injury hit them early in the second half. Of course it did. Seymour went off, Duncan Weir came on and he became Scotland's third full-back of the day. Soon after, Farrell's boot brought up the 40 for England.
God help them, but Scotland did their best to fight the inevitable. They tried to play, tried to avoid the concession of the kind of Twickenham points mountain that would have broken records. Jones scored, but England stirred again and Billy Vunipola replied. Jones scored again and like a cat with a mouse England responded, Danny Care bringing up the half-century that put this victory into the history books.
Six tries and it could have been seven had it not been for a Jones try-saver on Watson. Scotland wanted the whistle now - they wanted it from midway through the first half if truth be told - but they didn't hear it.
They were out on their feet, the English substitutes coming on and turning the screw, piling on the grief like the best teams do. No let-up, no throttling down on the power. This is how champions behave - and England are fine, fine champions.
They went for their seventh try and their 60th point as if they needed it like they needed their last breath. They camped themselves on the Scottish line, put them through scrum upon scrum, defence upon defence. For the weary visitors, it was torture. Physical and mental.
Care got that seventh score to complete the jaw-dropping rout. Nobody could see this coming. Nobody. Scotland came here in search of a dream. In the end, it was their worst kind of nightmare.