A Luke Moore hat-trick piled on the misery for sorry Middlesbrough as Aston Villa claimed an emphatic victory at the Riverside.
Moore claimed the first Premiership hat-trick of his career
Moore put the visitors ahead after 18 minutes when he pounced on a loose ball in the box and drilled home.
Phillips doubled their lead six minutes later, flicking James Milner's cross inside the far post with a header.
Moore then stabbed home another on the hour mark before completing his treble with a well-timed chip.
Fresh from their midweek win over Sunderland, Steve McClaren's men were brought crashing back to earth as they slumped to fourth from bottom in the Premiership.
Boro paid early on for defensive errors as Moore and Phillips opened the scoring just a quarter of the way into the match.
Moore grabbed his first when Phillips flicked Jlloyd Samuel's cross straight to his feet before he slid the ball under the keeper.
Things went from bad to worse for McClaren minutes later when Phillips darted past Emanuel Pogatetz to meet Milner's cross and sneak a deft header past Mark Schwarzer.
At the other end, strikers Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink and Mark Viduka looked out of sorts as Boro struggled to even get an effort on target in the first half.
Lee Cattermole's innocuous header just before the break, which deflected off Samuel and was easy for Thomas Sorensen in the Villa goal, summed up Boro's lack of chances.
It was no surprise when McClaren opted for a double substitution after the break, bringing on Massimo Maccarone and top-scorer Yakubu up front.
But the change did little to stem the Villa tide as Moore, who scored in Villa's 1-1 draw with Chelsea during the week, racked up his second in the 62nd minute.
Milner was again instrumental, centring a ball to Moore, who slotted home on his second attempt.
The 19-year-old then completed the scoring just two minutes later when he was sent through by Steven Davis and had little trouble chipping the ball past a distraught Schwarzer.
Having claimed the first Premiership hat-trick of his career, Moore was substituted in the 83rd minute to a rapturous ovation from the away fans.
Maccarone tried for a late consolation but drove high and wide as Boro were left wondering what had gone wrong.
Middlesbrough boss Steve McClaren:
"You can't win football matches unless you defend.
"Defending is not just goalkeeping and the back four, defending is the full team. And we've conceded more goals in the Premiership than any other team.
"That's why we're in the situation we're in. We have to defend better - we're not doing that collectively."
Aston Villa boss David O'Leary:
"We were superior from the kick-off and in every department we were superior.
"It's nice to get the maximum points - we've had hard away games recently and we haven't been beaten.
"But draws don't move you too many places. It's important to pick up a few maximum points and move us away from the trouble."
Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, Parnaby, Pogatetz, Southgate, Taylor, Mendieta (Davies 68), Cattermole, Doriva, Downing, Hasselbaink (Maccarone 46), Viduka (Yakubu 46).
Subs Not Used: Knight, Johnson.
Booked: Doriva, Mendieta, Maccarone.
Aston Villa: Sorensen, Hughes, Delaney, Mellberg (Ridgewell 78), Samuel (Hendrie 81), Milner, Davis, McCann, Barry, Moore (Angel 83), Phillips.
Subs Not Used: Taylor, Gardner.
Goals: Moore 18, Phillips 24, Moore 62, 64.
Ref: L Mason (Lancashire).