Bulls captain Pierre Spies was gracious in defeat after his side's unbeaten run this season came to a grinding halt against the Crusaders on Saturday.
The Crusaders emerged from their early season lethargy with a vengeance, hammering the Bulls 41-19 in Christchurch.
The seven-times Super Rugby champions, in their first home match of the season, scored six tries to one as they notched up their first win in 2013 by running the South African side to a standstill.
It was not a perfect performance from the Crusaders, with multiple errors, but it contained enough pace and venom to show their early losses to the Blues and Hurricanes were an aberration.
The Bulls went into the match brimming with confidence after their impressive win last week over the Blues but had no answer to the power and speed of the Crusaders' high-octane game.
"They kept us out of our game," said Spies
"In the line-outs they were very good. The scrums they also put us under pressure. Also, we couldn't get out of our half. We kept playing in our own half and you can't build any proper momentum so credit to them for that."
Crusaders captain Kieran Read said while his side were guilty of not looking after the ball in the first half, their effort could not be faulted.
"Certainly the intent was great and showed when we get it right we can be really dangerous."