With all eyes on Wallabies halfback Will Genia making his injury comeback, the underdogs have celebrated their first win in Brisbane in six attempts after leading 13-12 at halftime.
The Reds could take credit for keeping their line intact in the second half, at one point snuffing out a 16-phase assault by the Force just after sin-binned flanker Ed Quirk (shoulder charge) returned to the field.
But then a dubious scrum penalty against them on their feed allowed Sias Ebersohn to kick the visitors seven points clear with 11 minutes left in front of a stunned crowd of 26,709.
For Force coach Michael Foley it was a cherished victory, ending an 11-match personal losing streak dating back to last year with the NSW Waratahs.
But Foley was quick to deflect all the praise and attention on to the character, unity and work ethic of his players, as well as the faith of long-time club contributors.
"I think we're developing a very strong belief in each other," Foley said.
"I think (the win) is great reward for hard work."
Queensland's forward stocks were stretched following a head knock and gash to lock Rob Simmons, but Reds coaching boss Ewen McKenzie offered no excuses.
"They (the Force) played well, you have to give them credit," McKenzie said. "They were desperate and determined and through our own errors we didn't match them, so it was disappointing from that sense."
McKenzie defended Cooper, saying his whole team is failing to fire, while Genia admitted the Reds do feel out of tune.
"There is frustration," the Wallabies halfback said. "We feel like we're just struggling to find a bit of rhythm in our game and attack and if you look at specifically this game it's just the breakdown.
"They were able to get in there and slow us down at crucial times."
Earlier, the Crusaders recorded their first win from three games this season with an up-tempo 41-19 six-try win over the previously unbeaten Bulls at AMI Stadium in Christchurch.
Backing up after last weekend's 28-21 win over the Blues in Auckland, the Bulls never really threatened as the Crusaders overcame a shaky start to run in three tries in each half for the comprehensive win.
Crusaders centre Robbie Fruean had a nightmare opening 20 minutes, featuring in a succession of handling errors and sloppy passes.
But with frustration mounting, and only an early Dan Carter penalty on the board, the Crusaders finally started to hang onto the ball and build phases.
Inevitably, it was Fruean who sliced through the Bulls' backline to dot down, Carter's conversion giving the Crusaders a 10-3 lead after 24 minutes.
Six minutes later, skipper Kieran Read was driven over after the Crusaders again showed patience, recycling possession efficiently and stretching the well-organised Bulls defence to the limit.
The boot of Springboks No.10 Morne Steyn kept the Bulls in touch at 15-9, but winger Johnny McNicholl finished clinically right on the stroke of halftime after the Crusaders were unrelenting over 17 phases.
Ahead 22-9 at the break, and despite another Steyn penalty soon after the restart, winger Tom Marshall notched up the bonus-point try on 45 minutes as the Crusaders mounted another telling counterattack from a turnover on halfway.
The home team dictated terms from then on, dominating possession and territory, and keeping the Bulls pinned down on defence.
Loosehead prop Wyatt Crockett added the Crusaders' fifth try with 20 minutes remaining, finishing off another searing run from Marshall.
The Bulls replied through blindside flanker Deon Stegmann after a trademark drive from an attacking lineout but replacement halfback Willi Heinz danced over for the Crusaders' sixth just two minutes before the final whistle.