Manager Alan Pardew was left to apologise for Newcastle's performance as they suffered an FA Cup giant-killing at the hands of Stevenage.
The Premier League side were humbled by their League Two hosts as a Mike Williamson own-goal and additional strikes by Michael Bostwick and Peter Winn created one of the greatest fairytales in the competition's history.
A long-range Joey Barton effort had given Newcastle hope in injury-time before Winn scored, but the St James' Park club deserved to lose to their less illustrious opponents.
Pardew, who believed the Christmas programme had exhausted his players, said: "The physical side of Stevenage's game was a problem for us all night.
"I can only say we are sorry for the result and for the performance because it was the performance level which was the problem tonight.
"We were running on empty. It's been such a tough sequence of games. The team was a shadow of the team which played at Wigan and West Ham. Our energy level just couldn't match theirs. In both boxes we got dominated. The team looked tired.
"We had some key players missing through injury but I played the strongest team I could."
To complete a miserable night for Pardew, who only took over in December, Newcastle finished the match with 10 men when substitute Cheick Tiote was sent off by referee Andre Mariner for a reckless two-footed challenge.
Pardew added: "I wanted to protect Tiote (by starting him from the bench) because he had a slight strain but that has come back to hurt me. He came on to try to make a difference and has been sent off.
"The referee got it wrong. He was fast. He travelled across the ground. He was aggressive in the challenge but in no way was he intending to hurt the player. The ball was going away from the player. I was astonished by that."