A rollercoaster of emotions
None of the 47000 fans at the Stadium of Light would have foreseen this game ending the way it did, especially after Diego Costa gave Chelsea a 14th minute lead. An unfortunate break for Sunderland as Gary Cahill's pass deflected straight to Costa just six yards out, who was sharp to finish low.
Then as half time approached, Sunderland found their way back into the game out of absolutely nothing; through only Wahbi Khazri's second goal for the club. Cahill could only head a long diagonal ball out as far as Khazri who, 25 yards from goal, volleyed a dipping effort, right footed and saw the ball fly into the right top corner.
However, Sam Allardyce was left furious as his team could not get to half time still on terms. Some careless defending saw Patrick van Aanholt caught too deep and that allowed Nemanja Matic to run through on goal and calmly slot under Vito Mannone.
The manager must have gave a rousing team talk, as Sunderland came out with a lot more desire in the second half and they turned the game on it's head with two goals in three minutes mid-way through the period.
The equaliser arrived in the 67th minute with a bit of good fortune going the Wearsiders' way. Van Aanholt picked out Fabio Borini on the edge of the box and he settled himself before striking the ball, which took a deflection off John Terry, to sneak under Tibaut Courtois.
Then the decisive moment arrived 20 minutes from time as the player of the season, Jermain Defoe, won the game with a typical finish. DeAndre Yedlin skipped past his man on the right and whipped it in low where the ball deflected to Defoe. He took a touch and smashed the ball into the bottom left corner with his right foot to send the full house into rapture.
Mannone the hero
With five goals scored in a match, it isn't expected that a goalkeeper would be man of the match, but Mannone in the Sunderland goal was fully deserving. The Italian made a couple of really top-drawer saves in this game, and at crucial times where Sunderland could have been killed off.
The stops of note were both from Costa, who could have easily had a hat-trick on the day. Both were with the score at 2-1. First of all, just four minutes into the second half, he denied the Spanish international in a clear one-on-one situation to keep Sunderland in it.
Then - before Borini made it 2-2 - Costa had another clear sight of goal after great play from Cesc Fabregas to find him. However, with a lot of time and space he took too long and that allowed Mannone to launch himself at the ball and make the save.
One final twist in this game was the dismissal of Chelsea defender, John Terry in the fourth minute of added time. Already on a booking, he cynically fouled Khazri and left referee Mike Jones no choice to show the second yellow.
So along with Newcastle United only drawing 0-0 at Aston Villa, the 3-2 win puts Sunderland a point clear of Newcastle and four clear of Norwich City - with a win in their game in hand over Everton guaranteeing their safety in mid-week.