Steve Kean’s side were widely written off as relegation certainties after a miserable first half of the season, but Rovers have found some momentum at just the right time and they are now six points clear of the bottom three.
David Hoilett opened the scoring early in the first half and Nigerian striker Ayegbeni Yakubu sealed the points in the closing minutes to pile the pressure on Blackburn’s relegation rivals.
Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill handed Greek defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos his debut almost two months after the former Liverpool star joined the Black Cats on loan from Wolfsburg.
Kyrgiakos replaced the injured John O’Shea and was in the thick of the action early on as Rovers took the game to the visitors.
Kean’s side, who have now taken seven points from their last three matches, started with an incisive move as Hoilett slipped a pass through to Yakubu.
Yakubu lashed in a powerful strike and, although Simon Mignolet got a touch to the shot, the Sunderland goalkeeper could not prevent it going past him.