Essendon have defied the early loss of their captain to topple Brisbane by 22 points in a Gabba clash full of wasted opportunities.
The Bombers prevailed 8.14 (62) to 12.12 (84) on Sunday afternoon but did it the hard way after missing a host of chances to put the game away.
Brisbane were no better and would have been within eight points in the final term had Daniel McStay not missed a sitter.
Instead Essendon went coast to coast and goaled through Mitch Brown, with Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti's left-foot snap soon after sealing their fifth victory of the season.
Brisbane missed three more set shots in a frustrating final quarter for the 20,467-strong crowd that is still waiting for the club's second victory of the season.
"Overall we controlled big parts of the game, didn't really hurt them in the third quarter when we had the ball locked in our front half," Essendon coach John Worsfold said.
"It kept the game tight for that bit longer and I was concerned about how strongly we'd match their run in the last quarter, but I thought our guys were outstanding."
Essendon were without Dyson Heppell who was helped off the field in the second quarter with a bleeding mouth.
Luke Hodge had fumbled while running at full pace chasing a loose ball, slamming into the oncoming Heppell.
Heppell was checked by doctors and subsequently rubbed out of the game minutes later, but Worsfold said he had recovered well and that Hodge had no case to answer.
Brisbane matched the Bombers in most departments across the first two quarters but had their own errant kicking to blame for the 21-point deficit.
Eric Hipwood, Hugh McCluggage and Hodge all missed shots in the second term after an early Dayne Zorko goal had put them within three points.
It was more of the same after the break, with McCluggage missing from inside 20 metres and Lewis Taylor opting to pass despite being a similar distance from goal.
"There should be another category of just clanger mistakes; they're the ones that really hurt us," Brisbane coach Chris Fagan said.
"But I'm going to keep encouraging our boys to take on the game, because it's the right way to play."
Harris Andrews (24 disposals, 12 marks) stood tall in defence for Brisbane, while Jake Stringer (22 touches, three goals) was industrious for the visitors.
Zach Merrett had 29 touches for Essendon while Alex Witherden defied an injury scare to notch 26 disposals for the hosts.