Queens Park Rangers started brightly, but it was Sunderland who broke the deadlock early, Stephane Sessegnon bursting down the right channel with pace and trickery, getting to the byline before sending the ball to the other side of the area for Adam Johnson, who centred the ball for Steven Fletcher to turn in from close range.
Queens Park Rangers do seem to have a newly-instilled resilience about them of late, certainly in comparison to the timid displays earlier in the season. The home side retained their composure, and didn't take long to equalise, when Andros Townsend's long-range effort took a deflection, rolling neatly into the path of Loic Remy's run, who drilled an unerring finish into the bottom corner
The equaliser seemed to spur the Rs on, who battered Sunderland for the remainder of the half. Remy continued to be a dangerous presence, and immediately gained a few chances as, despite the relative artlessness of their pressure, a woeful lack of composure from the Sunderland defence left them struggling to clear their lines. The Frenchman ought to have made it 2-1, but hit a volley from 8 yards well over the bar after good work from Ji-Sung Park.
Nonetheless, Sunderland were all over the shop, although the Rs were unable to force another goal for half-time. Remy's miss looked costly as the teams came out for the second half, with Sunderland much-improved having used the time to regroup and looking more likely to bag the second, although a typical lack of creativity was on show as they struggled to create much in the way of clear chances.
Then came a goal which could go down as a huge turning point in this season's relegation battle, a set-piece being half-cleared by Sunderland before the ball fell to Andros Townsend, who made no mistake in sending a stunning shot from 25 yards that dipped into the corner past Mignolet's desperate dive.
Sunderland attempted to pressure at the end but seemed to lack the energy and quality, while the Rs remained disciplined in their own half. In the end, the hosts were able to seal the win with a third. Shaun Wright-Phillips did well to escape into the area from a short corner, but when his low centre was cleared, Jermaine Jenas picked up the ball on the edge of the area to lash in another long-range stunner for the home side.
Queens Park Rangers are now looking more and more likely to escape the drop, which is very bad news for the likes of Aston Villa and Southampton. The relegation race this season looks like being by far the most entertaining part of the run-in.