Essendon have humiliated fierce rivals Carlton by 81 points, raising fresh concerns about what is in store for the Blues this AFL season.
The 21.12 (138) to 8.9 (57) walkover on Sunday night at the MCG leaves Carlton winless after three rounds.
It is a major step back for the Blues after they went close to beating Richmond in round two.
Essendon repeated their 39-point domination of North Melbourne in round one and this time, the scoreboard also reflected the thoroughness of the win.
Onballer Heath Hocking was outstanding against Carlton captain Marc Murphy, while star recruit Paul Chapman continued to endear himself to Essendon fans with four goals.
Jason Winderlich made a successful return from injury with three goals.
Essendon made a dream start when Kyle Hardingham marked and goalled after a minute.
The Bombers ran rampant in the first term, kicking another five goals and restricting the Blues to three behinds for a 36-point lead.
Carlton looked panicked and made some dreadful ball-handling errors, while Essendon were clinical, far more aggressive in their attack on the ball and rarely coughed up possession.
The Bombers hogged the ball, racking up 130 possessions to 74.
Paddy Ryder’s ankle injury meant Jake Carlisle and Joe Daniher had to share the ruckwork against Carlton’s Rob Warnock.
The Blues won nearly every stoppage category, but Essendon rarely let them break into open space.
And Carlisle did a great job of negating Warnock’s influence.
When Essendon won the contested ball, they made it count for an inside 50 count of 55-29.
The Bombers extended their lead to 44 points at halftime, although they were starting to try some tricks rather than hammering home their advantage.
Carlton were much better at the start of the third term as they started running harder and evening up the contest.
David Ellard kicked two goals in two minutes.
A behind reduced the margin to 37 points, but Essendon went coast-to-coast for Winderlich’s third goal to stop Carlton’s challenge.
While the Blues kept battling, Essendon kicked the next four goals and led by 60 points at the last change.
Patrick Ambrose was a late withdrawal for the Bombers with a quad injury.