It was a first defeat in 21 matches for the world champions against a young England team.
Twickenham sensed the worst. The All Blacks had found their cutting edge and a third consecutive defeat to southern hemisphere opposition seemed in the offing.
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen was glowing in his praise of England afterwards, saying: "There were two teams capable of winning the World Cup out there.
"No excuses, we got beaten by the better side. They thoroughly deserved their victory and should be proud of what they have achieved with magnificent football. They took the game to us from the get-go, full credit to them."
England had lost narrowly to Australia and South Africa in their previous two matches, and coach Stuart Lancaster said: "The performance was exactly what we had hoped for.
"I'm chuffed for the players. When the tough times came, we stayed together. That team belief with a young England side definitely augurs well for the future."
Optimism about England's hopes for a home Rugby World Cup in 2015 did not play out, however, with the team eliminated in the group stage.