Ajax were far too strong for an Excelsior side that had two men sent-off as they returned from their travels with a 3-1 victory.
Klass Jan Huntelaar will be the toast of the Ajax faithful after he bagged a hat-trick with strikes in the 24th, 48th and 74th minutes.
Excelsior's chances of causing an upset took a turn for the worse in the 36th minute when Jos van Nieuwstadt was red-carded, before team-mate Sieme Zijm joined him in the dressing room in the 53rd minute.
Mitchell Pique reduced the deficit in injury time but it proved very much to be Ajax's and in particular, Jan Huntelaar's day.
AZ Alkmaar moved up to second place in the table with a 2-0 victory over Groningen, that saw Gijs Luirink and Danny Koevermans do the damage in the first half.
Utrecht will be pleased with their exertions after they beat Feyenoord 2-1, having raced into a two-goal lead within 17 minutes as Gregoor van Dijk, a penalty, and Robin Nelisse etched their names on the scoresheet.
Guiseppe Rossini saw red for Utrecht seven minutes from time but Feyenoord's numerical advantage proved only temporary, as Danny Buijs was sent for an early bath in injury time.
Ron Vlaar's goal a minute from time proved to be nothing more than a consolation for Feyenoord.
NEC Nijmegen were big away day winners as Romano Denneboom's goal was enough to secure a 1-0 win at RKC Waalwijk.
Twente were on fire against Heerenveen as they routed their visitors 5-1 on home soil.
Blaise N'Kufo led the charge with a brace, whilst Sharbel Touma, Jeroen Heubach and Kennedy Bakircioglu also grabbed a goal apiece.
Earlier in the contest Afonso Alves had levelled out N'Kufo's opener - in what proved to be a false dawn for Heerenveen.