In a day that cast Tim Sherwood’s Spurs’ future into further doubt, his side pulled yet another turnaround with goals from Emmanuel Adebayor, Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen.
Gus Poyet returned Adam Johnson to the starting eleven for Sunderland after the former Boro winger had proved such a handful against West Ham and Anfield, but deployed him in a more central position just behind Fabio Borini.
Spurs have made bad habits this season and yet again they started slowly against struggling opposition, allowing Sunderland too much respect and time on the ball.
Despite this, Sunderland’s nerves looked to have got the better of them as in the early stages neither side could really get their foot on the ball and play with abandon.
Aaron Lennon and Christian Eriksen linked up well, but their play aside Spurs were struggling to find any inspiration.
A moment of madness at the back yet again put Spurs’ opponents in the lead early on in the first half.
Vlad Chiriches inexplicably came across from centre-back to play a quick throw to Hugo Lloris, who was rushed into a return ball to the Romanian by Fabio Borini.
Chiriches tried to find his defensive partner, but only succeeded in picking out Lee Cattermole who’s delightfully placed, first time shot beat a scrambling Lloris and gave him his first goal in six years.
Spurs needed an immediate reaction and they began to play football more befitting of a side with their lofty aspirations.
Sunderland have started to attempt to soak up pressre against more talented sides, but they are doing so without the graft and organisation that is characteristic of Tony Pulis’s Crystal Palace.
Tottenham would take advantage of this and start to play in the spaces around Sunderland’s midfield, but were struggling to feed their strikers.
Christian Eriksen finally broke through the Sunderland backline with a sensational ball that found Adebayor at the back post and he simply guided the ball in with his body, although replays suggest he may have used his arm.
Sunderland’s lead had lasted all of eleven minutes and Tottenham were only to grow in confidence as thirteen minutes after the restart, Eriksen found Harry Kane with a similar cross, the young striker finding the net on his full Premier League debut and giving his side the lead.
Tottenham were cruising and Sunderland looked lost and worried, their star man Johnson looked anonymous for vast swathes of the match and they were struggling to cope with the inventiveness of Eriksen.
The Dane would get his own twenty minutes after setting up Kane, driving at the heart of Sunderland’s defence before unleashing a drive that deflected off Phil Bardsley and nestled in the bottom corner.
Sunderland looked beaten with 10 minutes of the match left to play, but Spurs were far from finished as Harry Kane breezed past Wes Brown and shot through the body of Vito Mannone with Adebayor finishing off the move and picking up his second.
Tottenham would get their third in added-time when Mannone failed to connect with a corner and as the ball pinballed around the six yard box, substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson pinged a shot past the Italian.
Despite their sluggish start and early defensive frailty, Spurs were good value for their win and they move back above Manchester United into sixth and are now only five points in the hunt for fourth.
Sunderland, however, are looking increasingly likely to be cut adrift any time now and their games in hand on their relegation rivals are too difficult to really bank on.
Seven points behind Norwich and on the end of another drubbing, time looks to be running out for Gus Poyet’s side.