Leicester ran six tries past Newcastle to win their Aviva Premiership clash 42-15 at Welford Road on Saturday to move into contention for a top-two finish.
It was a disastrous opening period for the Falcons with Leicester going over for three tries from Julian Salvi, Billy Twelvetrees and Horatio Agulla.
The second half was initially more competitive with Thomas Waldrom and Jon Golding trading scores, before Waldrom added his second and Niall Morris went over to seal the win, despite Mayhew's late touchdown for Newcastle.
After Saracens' surprise defeat to Worcester Warriors on Friday, it gave the Tigers an excellent opportunity to close the gap on the second-placed side.
They got off to the perfect start when Ford kicked an early penalty before James Fitzpatrick was sin-binned for the visitors.
Leicester capitalised when Salvi crossed the whitewash, the hosts' fly-half converting, although Jimmy Gopperth reduced the arrears soon after with a three-pointer.
But the Falcons were powerless to withstand the Tigers' onslaught and conceded yet again when Twelvetrees went over.
The Midlands outfit then touched down for a third time in the first half as Agulla scampered across the try-line as the hosts led 23-3 at the interval.
Waldrom sealed the bonus-point just after half-time, but Ford missed his third conversion in a row.
Golding replied for with a try of his own to narrow the gap for the Falcons, but a yellow card to Taiasina Tuifua halted their recovery.
Waldrom punished their ill-discipline once again with a second score of the afternoon before Morris completed an important victory, although Mayhew did get a consolation try for the Falcons.
Tries: Salvi, Twelvetrees, Agulla, Waldrom 2, Morris
Cons: Ford 3
Tries: Golding, Mayhew
Yellow card: Fitzpatrick (Newcastle - 9th minute); Tu'ifua (Newcastle - 63rd minute)
Leicester: 15 Geordan Murphy (capt), 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Matt Smith, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Scott Hamilton, 10 George Ford, 9 James Grindal, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Steve Mafi, 5 George Skivington, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Logoviii Mulipola, 2 George Chuter, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Julian White, 19 Graham Kitchener, 20 Craig Newby, 21 Scott Steele, 22 Jeremy Staunton, 23 Niall Morris.
Newcastle: 15 Greg Goosen, 14 Tom Bedford, 13 Jamie Helleur, 12 James Fitzpatrick, 11 Jeremy Manning, 10 Jimmy Gopperth (c), 9 Chris Pilgrim, 8 Mark Wilson, 7 Will Welch, 6 Ally Hogg, 5 Tim Swinson, 4 Andrew van der Heijden, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Rob Vickers, 1 Grant Shiells.
Replacements: 16 Michael Mayhew, 17 Jonny Golding, 18 Ashley Wells, 19 Taiasina Tu'ifua, 20 Richard Mayhew, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Rikki Sheriffe, 23 Joel Hodgson.
Venue: Welford Road
Referee: Greg Garner
Assistant referees: Don Helme, Rhys Davies