Quite simply, Middlesbrough were in charge from first to last, scored three goals, should have scored more and thoroughly deserved the three points.
Our cause wasn't helped by an early injury to Christian Ziege and with players out of position anyway, perhaps this was the afternoon our horrendous injury list finally caught up with us.
By contrast, Boro were all systems go and played with a spring in their step. Joseph-Desire Job - who prompted the song 'there's only one Job in Teeside' from the travelling fans - was first to set the alarm bells ringing when his low drive tested Kasey Keller to the full in the 20th minute.
Ben Thatcher's last-ditch tackle then denied the classy Geremi and Alen Boksic should have done better when a loose ball landed at his feet.
The first goal wasn't far away though. With 31 minutes on the clock, Jonathan Greening made a yard of space and crossed, Massimo Maccarone was inches away but Boksic, more by default, played the ball back to the young Italian who tapped home from two yards.
Job fluffed a free headed a few minutes later before we finally responded as Simon Davies and Robbie Keane combined to play in Matty Etherington, who couldn't get enough on his shot under pressure.
As we struggled to get our passing game going, Boro, with Geremi the pick, just got stronger and stronger.
Geremi, on loan from Real Madrid, handed a golden chance to Maccarone five minutes before the break only for Keller to save point-blank with his feet and then Boksic reached the by-line and rolled the ball back for Job, who somehow missed it totally when a second goal looked a certainly.
Glenn Hoddle brought on Teddy Sheringham for Les Ferdinand at half-time and we looked sprightly from the off but just when we needed to get on top, Boro grabbed the vital second goal on the break.
Job fed Maccarone on the left, his crossfield pass picked out Geremi in space and the Cameroon international has time to pick his spot, albeit off Keller's right hand, in the bottom left corner.
Then our best chance. Sheringham's cross was met 10 yards out by the high-climbing Gary Doherty only for his textbook header to clip the post and bounce to safety.
Typically of the match, Boro then broke straight up the other end and scored again. Job burst through onto a long ball., steadied himself against Keller and finished clinically - 57 minutes gone, game over.
Keane almost lifted the gloom when he climbed well to head Milenko Acimovic's cross just over but with the lads clearly crestfallen, Boro managed to carve out more chances.
Boksic hit the post, Geremi's free-kick was touched onto the woodwork by Keller and Job missed the open goal from the rebound and Job missed again in front of goal from Wilkshire's centre in injury time.
MINUTE-BY-MINUTE GUIDE TO THE ACTION...
Team news: Ziege back in starting line-up, Doherty drops to bench. Ferdinand starts in place of Sheringham, who is on the bench.
4mins: Dangerous in-swinging Queudrue corner caused a few problems but cleared.
10mins: First opening as Redknapp broke forward but scuffed shot wide from 25 yards.
11mins: Richards forced into full-length diving header to clear dangerous Geremi cross.
12mins: SUB. INJURY. Doherty on for injured Ziege. Thatcher moved across to left-back.
18mins: Ferdinand, leaning back for low Thatcher cross, flicked header wide.
19mins: SAVE. Job turned away from Redknapp and forced Keller to tip aside low shot from 20 yards.
21mins: Southgate scrambled away clever low volleyed cross from Iversen.
24mins: Brilliant covering tackle from Thatcher blocked Geremi effort after best move so far from Boro.
27mins: Geremi free-kick bounced to Boksic but his potentially-dangerous volley had all power taken off it by deflecting off Ehiogu.
30mins: Calls for penalty waved away as Iversen and Queudrue went down in box together.
31mins: GOAL. Maccarone initially missed Greening's cross, Boksic made a mess of attempted volley but it went straight back to Maccarone who tucked it away from close range. 0-1.
33mins: Good pressure from Boro forced defensive mistake and Job should have done better from Boksic's cross, but headed tamely at Keller.
37mins: First real chance as Davies cut in from right back, found Keane, he rolled the ball into Etherington who didn't get enough on his shot to seriously trouble Schwarzer.
38mins: Ferdinand headed Redknapp's corner over from the corner of the six-yard box.
40mins: SAVE. Geremi robbed Thatcher, squared to Maccarone, eight yards out but Keller managed to save with his feet.
41mins: MISS. Boksic slipped Thatcher tackle in box, cut back to Job who appeared to just miss the ball with a second goal begging.
42mins: Keane one-two with Ferdinand and fired just wide from 18 yards.
Half-time: Spurs 0-1 Middlesbrough
Half-time: SUB: Sheringham for Ferdinand.
48mins: Geremi's cross got the slightest of deflections and somehow missed three players waiting in middle.
53mins: Half-chance created as Sheringham fed Davies, whose deep cross was headed back across goal by Iversen to no avail.
54mins: GOAL. Boro break, Maccarone found Geremi in acres of space, Keller couldn't keep his low drive out. 0-2.
56mins: Another chance for the visitors as Keller parried Maccarone's shot and Doherty mopped up the loose ball.
57mins: WOODWORK. Doherty headed Sheringham's corner onto the post.
57mins: GOAL. Boro broke up the other end, Job through on goal, finished clinically. 0-3.
67mins: SUB. Acimovic for Iversen.
68mins: Redknapp played one-two with Richards, shot always going wide.
72mins: Geremi lashed shot wide from 25 yards.
74mins: YELLOW. Davies for foul on Queudrue.
75mins: Decent move left Acimovic in space, Keane attacked the cross but headed over.
76mins: WOODWORK. Lovely ball into Greening from Job, Keller out to block, Boksic clipped loose ball onto post.
79mins: Claims for penalty waved away after Etherington brought down in box by Stockdale.
83mins: Another penalty turned down as blatant handball by Stockdale missed by the referee.
84mins: SUB. Wilkshire for Boateng.
85mins: YELLOW. Queudrue for foul on Sheringham.
89mins: WOODWORK. Geremi free-kick touched onto the post by Keller and bounced back to Job, who missed an open goal from eight yards.
IT: Wilkshire crossed to Job, who fluffed it in front of goal.
Line-ups: Spurs: Keller, Davies, Thatcher, Richards, Ziege (Doherty, 12), Iversen (Acimovic, 66), Redknapp, Bunjevcevic, Etherington, Keane, Ferdinand (Sheringham, 46). Unused subs: Hirschfeld, Ricketts.
Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, Stockdale, Ehiogu, Greening, Geremi, Job, Boateng (Wilkshire, 84), Maccarone, Boksic, Southgate, Queudrue. Unused subs: Crossley, Cooper. Whelan, Marinelli.
Glenn Hoddle immediately described this as the worst display under his stewardship and, as that sinking feeling engulfed the Lane, the glum faces on the players leaving the dressing room told its own story.