The Blues got off to an awful start at Stamford Bridge when Gary Cahill was dismissed inside 14 minutes for a tackle on Steven Defour.
Burnley, tipped by many to struggle at the wrong end of the table this season, took full advantage of the sending off by racing into a stunning 3-0 lead courtesy of two goals from Sam Vokes and another from Stephen Ward.
2 - Chelsea have been given two red cards in the same Premier League game for the first time since March 2014 (vs Aston Villa). Anger.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 12, 2017
And though Alvaro Morata and David Luiz would net in the second half to spare Chelsea some embarrassment, Cesc Fabregas' late second booking further reduced their chances of completing an improbable comeback.
Fabregas had been shown a yellow card for dissent before a tackle on Jack Cork ended his afternoon.
As well as worsening Chelsea's predicament, the Spaniard's dismissal marked the first occasion ever on which two players from the same team had been sent off on a Premier League opening day.
Prior to Saturday's match, the Blues had not had a player sent off in 41 league games stretching back to John Terry's red against Sunderland at the end of the 2015-16 season.
Antonio Conte did not see his side go down to 10 men once during his debut campaign in the English top flight.
It is not since March 2014 that Chelsea have had two players sent off in the same game in the Premier League and only the seventh occasion on which it has happened in their Premier League history.