Sale were unable to stop a Harlequins side which was littered with international talent, as England starters Mike Brown and Danny Care showcased their talent.
A place in the play offs is still not beyond the realms of possibility, but three wins from the last three games will be needed to mount a serious challenge.
After a week which saw Danny Cipriani take all the headlines for his Aviva Premiership player of the month award, it was inevitable that he would be the key man in Sale's opening try.
The 26 year-old took two defenders out of the game, with Tom Arscott then timing his pass to perfection to give Tom Brady the simplest of scores.
After a sustained period of pressure, the visitors hit back. Nick Evans slalomed his way through Sharks' defence, and managed to touch down despite the attentions of Cipriani.
Evans was in action again moments later, slotting a penalty to give Connor O'Shea's men a five point lead.
Things got worse for Steve Diamond's side before half time. Danny Care's try put Quins in a commanding position.
There were shades of last week's defeat to Northampton Saints, as Sale's start had promised much, only for them to go in at the break behind.
Sharks knew they needed a big performance to get back into the game, but conceded just five minutes into the second half.
Sam Smith managed to power past Brady and make Sale's task even harder.
The home side did rally though, with Jonny Leota and Arscott going close within a few seconds of each other.
Brady should have been in for his second of the match soon after. What persuaded Wayne Barnes to disallow the score was beyond the majority of the AJ Bell crowd, but after a look at the big screen the referee chose not to award a try which would have given Sharks a huge lift.
Maurie Fa'asavalu got the visitor's bonus point when he touched down late on.
Sale's late pressure did result in a penalty try, but by that point it was too little, too late.
Sale Sharks: 15 Tom Arscott, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Jonny Leota, 12 Sammy Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto (Off 46mins), 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 James Gaskell, 7 David Seymour, 6 Dan Braid (c), 5 Michael Paterson, 4 Jonathan Mills, 3 Vadim Cobilas (Off 57mins), 2 Marc Jones (Off 57mins), 1 Eifion Lewis-Roberts (Off 57mins)
Replacements: 16 Tommy Taylor (On for Jones 57mins), 17 Ross Harrison (On for Lewis-Roberts 57mins), 18 Henry Thomas (On for Cobilas 57minns), 19 Andrei Ostrikov, 20 Mark Easter, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Nick Macleod, 23 Rob Miller (On For Cueto 46mins)
Scoring sequence: 5-0, 5-7, 5-10, 5-15 (Half Time) 5-20, 5-25, 5-27, 10-27, 12-27
|Sale Sharks Score Card|
|Harlequins Score Card|