Bendtner's third goal in four games gave the hosts a deserved 1-0 lead at the break but Cisse’s red card for a bad two-footed lunge on Fraizer Campbell early in the second half proved decisive as Sunderland made their man advantage count, though Taye Taiwo did strike a late consolation.
The game took time to spark to life after a cagey opening half hour produced precious few chances on either side.
Jack Colback provided the most dangerous threat to Paddy Kenny’s goal in the early stages, scuffing an excellent chance wide when set up by Sessegnon before flashing a left-foot shot just wide moments later from a Bendtner flick on.
The visitors’ best effort fell to Mackie, but his header from Luke Young’s cross was deflected over the bar.
Just when it looked like the major first-half talking points would revolve around a suspected calf injury to skipper John O’Shea and a playground scuffle between Sotirios Kyrgiakos and Bobby Zamora that saw both go into the referee’s book, an excellent cross from McClean found Bendtner, leaping like a salmon to head past a flat footed Kenny.
If QPR were already up against it at the start of the second half, they found themselves with a mountain to climb early in the second.
Sunderland nearly doubled their lead when a rasping Craig Gardner effort direct from the free kick cannoned back off the underside of Kenny’s bar and when Campbell collected the ball, Cisse launched into the Sunderland player with an ugly two-footed lunge. It left referee Mike Jones with no option but to brandish the red card and leave the visitors facing an even harder task than against Liverpool last week.
Moments later, Sunderland made their advantage count to double their lead, the excellent McClean showing good perseverance to lash his shot past Kenny via a slight deflection after Young had blocked his first effort.
Less than ten minutes later, Sessegnon put the game beyond QPR, latching onto David Vaughan’s pinpoint cross to side-foot home his seventh of the campaign.
An excellent free kick into the top corner from Taiwo reduced the arrears but it was too little too late for Mark Hughes’s men. And with games against Arsenal and Manchester United to come and six of the top eight left to play, they face a massive fight to retain their top-flight status.