Head coach John Carver admitted he was "embarrassed" by Newcastle's capitulation at Sunderland after seeing his side slip to a fifth successive derby defeat.
Jermain Defoe's stunning strike was enough to secure a 1-0 victory for the Black Cats, who eased their relegation fears with just a third Premier League win of the season at the Stadium of Light.
The Magpies were desperately poor before the break and only marginally better after it to leave Geordie Carver red-faced.
He said: "I am sitting here - do you think I'm embarrassed? I am absolutely embarrassed, yes I am. I am embarrassed to be part of it, yes, but I am a part of it and I have to deal with it.
"In the first half, we were dreadful. I said before the game that no side of mine would be criticised for not closing people down, not working hard enough and I think I was wrong.
"We were second-best in every department, certainly the midfield areas and the front three.
"But what I will say is with a makeshift back four, they stuck by their guns, along with the goalkeeper, and actually kept us in the game because without those guys, we would have been in big trouble.
"If we'd have got to half-time at 0-0, I actually would have been doing somersaults in the dressing room. That's how poor we were."
Defoe's superb volley in first-half stoppage time won the day for the Black Cats, who remained outside the relegation zone only by virtue of goal difference after Burnley's goalless draw with Tottenham earlier in the day.
Defoe blasted the ball past stranded keeper Tim Krul after Steven Fletcher had headed down keeper Costel Pantilimon's long free-kick, but while Dick Advocaat's men enjoyed the better of the game throughout, they were unable to extend their lead.
They had to endure a tense conclusion during which Newcastle striker Ayoze Perez volleyed over from close range.
Advocaat was delighted with his team's effort and the quality they produced just when they needed it most, and was particularly pleased with the way Defoe and fellow frontmen Fletcher and Connor Wickham responded to his pre-match instructions.
The Dutchman said: "Before the game, I said something to our Scottish friend (Fletcher): 'It's time to do something now. You can do it for Scotland, but you have to do it here as well'.
"And then Defoe came and I said, 'Do I have to say something to you or not?', and he said, 'No, I know what I have to do'.
"It's a great boost for everybody. If you see them in the dressing room, they can't walk any more, they are so tired. If you see our three front players, the way they worked, it was something special."