Dele Alli then restored order ten minutes from the interval, which had come moments after Harry Kane had to leave the field with an ankle injury.
But Howe was pleased with his side's performance and felt the scoreline did not accurately reflect how the match went.
"It was a really high-speed game, a lot of energy from both teams", Howe told Sky Sports.
"We were well in it until that last period where the scoreline looks like a flattering one for them I feel".
"We competed, we gave everything into the match physically".
"We started the second half really well, we tried to be on the front foot as best as we could". We conceded an early goal but it was a massive three points for us.
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"Tottenham are a great side and we respect them but we will try to play our attacking football and cause them problems".
"They've got quality and, defensively, we were stretched today".
"When you get the lead you're looking to protect that and enhance it if you can".
Alli gave Tottenham fans a scare when he was replaced late on, as did left-back Danny Rose, who was making his first top-flight appearance of the year, but both were worn out rather than injured.
He added: "We need wins and as quickly as possible". The supporters are a huge part of when we play here because they are so close to the pitch.
"Barcelona did it, and so many others, in the way we want to play. I am proud of the players efforts today".