Goals from Nedum Onuoha, Asamoah Gyan and Danny Welbeck secured a 3-0 victory for Steve Bruce's men in an imperious performance that made Chelsea look ordinary.
The Blues lacked the influence of Michael Essien in midfield and Sunderland tore through their porous and makeshift defence. At the other end the Black Cats limited Chelsea to a handful of long range efforts and, in truth, the home side never really looked like scoring.
Sunderland got the breakthrough just before halftime after some sublime skill from Onuoha. He received the ball around 30 yards out before weaving past the Chelsea defence and stroking the ball beyond a hapless Petr Cech.
Before this, Branislav Ivanovic was lucky not to receive his marching orders for felling Welbeck when he was through on goal. He received a yellow card instead.
However this didn't matter as Sunderland asserted their dominance in the second half. In the 52nd minute Gyan made it two after Jordan Henderson's delightful pass set him through on goal. The Black Cats' record signing remained cool and calm to slot beyond Cech.
For all of Chelsea's subsequent pressure and possession, they were limited to half chances, with both Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka looking distinctly out of form. And Chelsea's defeat was compounded in the 86th minute when a sloppy back pass from Ashley Cole fell to the grateful Welbeck, who accepted the gift with aplomb.