Leicester Tigers hammered Newcastle Falcons 42-15 in their Aviva Premiership match at Welford Road on Saturday.
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.
Final Score Leicester 42 (23) Newcastle 15 (3)
Tries: Salvi, Twelvetrees, Agulla, Waldrom 2, Morris
Penalties: Ford 2
Conversions: Ford 3
Tries: Golding, Mayhew
Referee: Greg Garner (30th Premiership game)
Leicester Tigers 15 Geordan Murphy (c) , 14 Horacio Agulla , 13 Matt Smith , 12 Billy Twelvetrees , 11 Scott Hamilton , 10 George Ford , 9 James Grindal , 1 Marcos Ayerza , 2 George Chuter , 3 Logoviii Mulipola , 4 Ed Slater , 5 George Skivington , 6 Steve Mafi , 7 Julian Salvi , 8 Thomas Waldrom
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, 1 Grant Shiells, 2 Rob Vickers, 3 Euan Murray, 4 Andrew van der Heijden, 5 Tim Swinson, 6 Ally Hogg, 7 Will Welch, 8 Mark Wilson
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