Exeter Chiefs capitalised on Saracens' faltering Premiership form with another heavy-scoring display at Worcester Warriors on Saturday, winning 48-32.
Second-placed Saracens were beaten at Gloucester on Friday to make it back-to-back defeats for the defending champions, and Exeter's win at Sixways - inspired by a James Short hat-trick - draws them level on points.
Rob Baxter's men have grown accustomed to piling on the points against Worcester - their latest victory takes them to a tally of 155 against the Warriors in their last three meetings and extends their winning run in the fixture to 10.
Warriors reached half-time with a slender 18-17 advantage, but three quick tries early in the second period with Alafoti Fa'osiliva in the sin bin gave Exeter breathing space.
Struggling Worcester did, however, collect a valuable bonus point in their fight against the drop when Jackson Willison crossed for their fourth try of the match.
Leicester Tigers, meanwhile, registered their biggest league win in almost four years as they saw off basement club Bristol 50-17, with JP Pietersen shining on his return to the XV after 11 weeks out through injury.
Aaron Mauger's side ran in eight tries - two from Pietersen - on the way to their biggest points total since 2010, including a period of 31 unanswered points in the first half.
The result sees Leicester close within four points of fourth-placed Bath - 22-12 winners against Harlequins on Saturday - while Bristol are now six adrift of Worcester at the bottom.
Quins outscored Bath by two tries to one, but 17 points from the boot of Rhys Priestland proved key to the hosts' victory at the Rec.