England roared back into the Six Nations mix with another comprehensive demolition of Ireland on Sunday as tries by George Ford, Elliot Daly and Luke Cowan-Dickie helped them to a 24-12 Twickenham victory in their best performance of the year.
England were superb in the first half, leading 17-0 at the break and treating the home fans to glimpses of the attacking verve and aggressive defence that marked their memorable World Cup wins over Australia and New Zealand four months ago.
"If it had been a cricket match we could have declared at halftime," said their coach Eddie Jones. "We were outstanding in that first 40 minutes and put Ireland to the sword."
Ireland looked flat and short of ideas as they barely fired a shot in the first period and, though they did regroup in the second, they were well beaten despite coming into the game on the back of two wins.
After three rounds, both teams are now on nine points from two wins and one defeat, with France, who have won their first three games, topping the standings on 13 points with the destiny of the championship in their hands. Wales and Scotland are on six with Italy yet to register.
England set the tone from the opening exchanges and barely took their foot off the pedal throughout the first half.
They were on the board after nine minutes when Johnny Sexton failed to deal with the awkward bounce of Ben Youngs's grubber kick, allowing Ford to dive on it.
A similar scenario unfolded for the second try, Jacob Stockdale fatally hesitating over Ford's kick and Daly reaching it just in time to touch down.
England's attack was full of hard, aggressive running and neat, delayed passing that repeatedly punched holes in the Irish defence.
Conversely, when the visitors had the ball the English loose forward trio of Lawes, Tom Curry and Sam Underhill were swarming all over them.
Farrell slotted a penalty to stretch the lead to 17-0 at halftime, and it was no more than England deserved.
Ireland hit back with a Robbie Henshaw try but Sexton, who earlier missed a simple penalty, also screwed the conversion wide.
England's replacement forwards brought new energy and a rolling maul, with most of the backs joining in, shoved Cowan-Dickie over, before Farrell slotted a tough conversion to make it 24-5.
The crowd was energised, baying for a fourth bonus-point try, but instead Ireland regrouped and had the last word when Andrew Porter burrowed over for a score that might yet prove important in the final reckoning.
"We started firing a few shots when the game was over, and that's not what we want to do and the score probably flattered us," said Andy Farrell after his first defeat since taking over as Ireland head coach.
"England played like a side that was desperate to stay in the competition, but we'll look at ourselves for the reasons we allowed them to play the game they wanted to play.
"We go into the Italy game knowing what we've got to do. If we perform like we want to in that game we'll take it to the last weekend."
England next host Wales, before finishing off against Italy in Rome in what is already heading towards being another great "Super Saturday" finale.
"We've been building up," said Jones, "We were good against Scotland, we took another step up today and will take another against Wales."