Despite having a plethora of chances to score, Spurs failed to find a way past an inspired Simon Mignolet until the 89th minute, when Gareth Bale netted with a stunning 30-yard strike.
And while they managed to grab all three points, they came up short after Arsenal's 1-0 win over Newcastle guaranteed the Gunners Champions League football next season.
Here, FOX Sports takes a look at the movers and shakers from Sunday's season-ender in north London.
Hugo Lloris - 8
Tottenham spent large parts of the game dominating proceedings but it was actually Sunderland who came close to opening the scoring.
Lloris produced a fine save to deny Connor Wickham from point-blank range at his near post in the first half, before keeping out another good effort from Danny Graham after the break.
Kyle Walker - 7
Walker showed plenty of energy down the right in the first half, and although he faded away gradually after halftime, he had a good showing overall.
Michael Dawson - 7
The Spurs skipper was unbeatable in the air all afternoon long and showed real heart in pushing his side on.
Jan Vertonghen - 7.5
While Spurs ultimately failed to book a spot in the Champions League, they can take heart in the fact that they have a formidable squad at the moment, and Vertonghen will play a key role in their push next season.
Given he did not have much defending to do on Sunday, Vertonghen took it upon himself to be a creative force for his side and created many attacks with his excellent distribution from the back.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto (off 84') - 5
Assou-Ekotto was one of the Spurs players who were extremely disappointing on the day as he regularly lost his direct opponent.
It remains to be seen if he will be at White Hart Lane next season.
Tom Huddlestone - 5
Like Assou-Ekotto, Huddlestone has really flattered to deceive in recent weeks.
He remains a player brimming with talent but if he cannot deliver, he might be better off playing for a club with more modest ambitions.
Scott Parker (off 64') - 7
Parker provided Tottenham with his trademark grit and energy in the middle of the park, and it was a shame he was replaced after the hour mark as manager Andre Villas-Boas decided to bring on a more-attacking option in Dembele.
Aaron Lennon - 6
The pacy winger was extremely lively and regularly found himself in good positions, but his one major fault - as it has been throughout his career - was his inability to deliver the final delivery into the box for his strikers to feed on.
Clint Dempsey (off 73') - 6.5
Dempsey hasn't had the best of seasons since joining the club from Fulham and struggled to make an impact once more on Saturday.
It was no surprise that Villas-Boas decided to bring him off with 17 minutes remaining.
Gareth Bale - 8
The Welshman was the hero for Spurs again, scoring with a stunning 30-yard drive to hand them the win.
Given they will not be playing Champions League football next year, it is likely that Europe's top sides will test Spurs' resolve over the summer.
Emmanuel Adebayor - 5.5
Adebayor's inconsistency reared its ugly head again on Sunday as he failed to deliver the goods for Tottenham.
He managed to get himself in a couple of good positions but failed to hit the target, but for the most part, he showed little desire to get involved in proceedings.
Moussa Dembele (on 64') - 6.5
Dembele was given a significant amount of time to make an impact but struggled to come to terms with the pace of the game after coming on.
Jermain Defoe (on 73') - 6
Likewise, Defoe was thrown on as Spurs tried to find a winner but he was unable to carve out any real opportunities in the final third.
Gylfi Sigurdsson (on 84') - N/A
Sigurdsson was introduced with six minutes to go and had minimal time to make an impact.
Simon Mignolet - 9
Mignolet also singlehandedly kept Tottenham at bay on Sunday with a series of fine saves, and also claimed crosses with authority all game long.
In the end, it took a brilliant strike from Bale to beat him and even then, not many world-class keepers would have kept that out.
Sebastian Larsson - 6.5
Despite once again being deployed in the unfamiliar role of right-back, the Swede toiled manfully throughout the 90 minutes.
John O'Shea - 4
It seems strange why an error-prone player like O'Shea is regarded as captaincy material, given he has cost his side games many time throughout his career.
Midway through the first half, he inexplicably headed the ball backwards and played Bale through, and needed an intervention from Mignolet to spare him his blushes.
Carlos Cuellar - 7.5
With O'Shea putting in a shocking display, Sunderland were lucky to have another centre-back who looked serious in keeping the opposition attackers at bay.
Cuellar weighed in with a number of crunching tackles and also read the game well, making a series of vital interceptions to break down Tottenham attacks.
Jack Colback - 8
Like Larsson, Colback is also a midfielder that has had to play out of position recently, but his willingness to work hard has served him well.
And if it wasn't for his two goal-line clearances to deny Parker and Adebayor in quick succession, the Black Cats' resistance might have crumbled before Bale's strike.
Adam Johnson - 4
Once regarded as the answer to England's left-wing problems, Johnson is a shadow of the player he once was and had an awful display.
Alfred N'Diaye - 7
N'Diaye has established himself as a key player at the Stadium of Light since joining from Bursapor in January, and his strength and work rate in midfield are traits that his manager Paolo Di Canio is likely to value.
David Vaughan - 5.5
Up till the 75th minute, Vaughan had been having a good game as he hardly put a foot wrong in the middle of the park.
But with a reckless challenge on Lennon, and a needless one at that, the 30-year-old received his second booking and left his side playing with ten men for the remainder of the match.
James McClean (off 74') - 4
Like Johnson, McClean offered Sunderland nothing down the wings all game long and spent most of his time on the field being bullied by Walker.
Danny Graham (off 74') - 6.5
Although Graham did not have too many chances to make an impact, he was sharp in the attacking third when he did receive the ball.
He came close to opening the scoring after the break, and linked up well with Wickham.
Connor Wickham (off 88') - 7
It's easy to see why Wickham is still being touted as a future England international despite his recent injury problems.
Despite his towering frame, the 20-year-old possesses a good touch and dropped deep to link up play to good effect.
Mikael Mandron (on 74') - 6
The 18-year-old French-Scottish striker was thrown on with 16 minutes to go but struggled to get into the game.
Billy Knott (on 74') - 6
Di Canio decided to bring on 20-year-old Knott for his Black Cats debut on Sunday, and while he failed to make a significant contribution, it would have been a good experience for him playing against one of the country's top sides.
Adam Mitchell (on 88') - N/A
Mitchell was the third youngster that Di Canio decided to bring on, and like Knott, it was also a debut for the midfielder.