Ty Vickery and Aaron Edwards kicked four goals each in Saturday night's win in front of 60,979 fans.
It all but guarantees Richmond will finish fifth rather than sixth, meaning a blockbuster MCG elimination final against Carlton next weekend.
Much of the build-up had centred on how Essendon would respond to being disqualified from the finals, part of the penalty they agreed to on Tuesday night for last year's supplements saga.
Caretaker coach Simon Goodwin, filling in for the suspended James Hird, had suggested anger might motivate some players.
But there was little emotion on show, nor the sort of desperation evident in last round's thrilling upset win over Carlton.
There was not too much physical pressure applied by either side, with a total of just 86 tackles between the teams for the night.
The biggest show of fight by the Bombers came off the ball.
Jake Melksham is likely to start next season under suspension after bloodying the nose of Richmond's Daniel Jackson with his left forearm midway through the third quarter, moments after kicking a goal.
Richmond had led by 13 points after a lacklustre first half in which Essendon botched several good scoring chances, including a terrible Jackson Merrett miss from 10m out.
The Tigers asserted their authority early in the second half, kicking four goals in the first 10 minutes to quickly stretch their lead to 38 points.
Melksham responded both on the scoreboard and with his act of aggression towards Jackson, before Michael Hurley added another major for the Bombers.
But it was as far as their resistance went.
Vickery added his third for the term soon after to help the Tigers to a commanding 39-point lead by the last change.
Vickery added another in the last term, with his second-half display a big positive for the Tigers as they look to the finals.
Daniel Jackson, Brandon Ellis and Trent Cotchin were all strong in the midfield, with Troy Chaplin again solid in defence.
The Tigers subbed off speedster Matt White at halftime with an apparent hamstring injury.
But they are likely to regain Jack Riewoldt, Chris Newman and Shane Edwards for their elimination final.
For Essendon, Brendon Goddard was typically creative with the ball and Melksham also among their best.
The Bombers farewelled Nathan Lovett-Murray, who kicked the Bombers' opening goal to go with his 23 touches, and ruckman David Hille.
Essendon's Jake Carlisle was subbed off with back spasms in the third term.
The entire Bombers team walked around a large section of the boundary to applaud their fans post-match, as the fans chanted their support.
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick said White had back tightness and the club hoped he could face the Blues.
He said the Tigers were treating finals as the start of a new season.
"One season's finished, 15-7, a great result, another season starts," he said.
"That's the feeling we want at our footy club, we need to maintain our standards now to drive through this finals season, wherever that takes us."
Goodwin said he and fellow Bombers assistant Mark Thompson had told their players post-match how proud they were of their efforts in difficult circumstances this year.
But he admitted the team was relieved the season was over.
"You're always disappointed in a loss, we should never accept losing in a footy club but under the circumstances, I think there's certainly a lot of relief that the year's finished," Goodwin said.
RICHMOND 4.1 5.7 11.9 15.14 (104)
ESSENDON 2.4 3.6 5.8 9.11 (65)
Goals: Richmond - Edwards, Vickery 4; Jackson, King 2; Martin, Grigg, Tuck. Essendon - Melksham, Jetta, Hurley 2; Howlett, Dalgleish, Lovett-Murray.
Best: Richmond - Jackson, Ellis, Vickery, Cotchin, Chaplin, Edwards. Essendon - Goddard, Melksham, Hibberd, Watson, Stanton, Lovett-Murray.
Umpires: Chris Donlon, Jeff Dalgleish, Luke Farmer.
Official Crowd: 60,979 at MCG.