Blackburn fought back from quickly falling three goals behind at Wigan before a hat trick from a former player sent them crashing to a 5-3 defeat.
After a promising start to the campaign Rovers have now only won one of their last seven Premier League games and after this defensively shambolic performance boss Mark Hughes must wonder when his side will get back to winning ways.
Three goals down after only 37 minutes to strikes from Denny Landzaat, former player Marcus Bent and Paul Scharner, there seemed no way back for the visitors particularly after Benni McCarthy missed a 22nd minute penalty.
But Roque Santa Cruz reduced the arrears just before the break with a stunning volley.
The Paraguayan international scored again in the 50th minute only for Rovers to see red for the fifth time this campaign as Brett Emerton was harshly dismissed for a second bookable offence - "We just find that we don't very often get the benefit of the doubt in respect of referees. I think if Mr Clattenburg was honest with his performance today, it wasn't up to the required mark," claimed the Rovers chief.
Incredibly, even with ten men Santa Cruz completed his hat trick in the 61st minute to bring the scores level.
Within five minutes Bent restored the Latics lead and completed his own three strikes with a late goal to bring a welcome three points for the first time since August.
Reflecting on the action-packed game, Hughes said: "We are disappointed with our first-half showing because defensively we were all over the place and really didn't compete in that first 45 minutes.
"Second-half, I thought we had a real go because we had to, we had to try and get back into the game and obviously showed great qualities to get back on level terms and then we were a little bit sloppy again defensively and we conceded another.
"I have my doubts whether or not it was onside that one, the fourth and the fifth goal in fairness, so it has been a hard day, obviously made more difficult with the sending off of Brett Emerton who I thought was fairly unlucky to get a yellow card in the first half, the second one possibly justified.
"But at the end of the day, we can't defend like we did in the first half," he said, adding he got a positive reaction in the second-half.
"I thought we were great in the second-half. We had to dig in, we had to show the qualities really we didn't show in the first 45 minutes and I got a reaction that is what I wanted to see."