The £17million man squandered a glorious first-half chance to open the scoring after rounding Brad Friedel, and then saw the American goalkeeper pull off two fine second-half saves to pave the way for substitute Matt Derbyshire to steal all the points in the last minute of normal time.
Toon boss Kevin Keegan said: "Michael came straight into the dressing room, put his hands up and said, 'sorry guys, I should have scored'.
"But he won't go hiding, that's for sure. He puts himself up there, gets himself into positions and on another day he could have had a hat-trick.
"But today, it wasn't to be. He is a top-quality player and a great finisher, but today, he put his hands up and said he should have scored a few goals.
"At least today, we created chances for him, and that's something we haven't done.
"He scored his two goals while I have been here through half-chances.
"Today, we created a bit more and you know on another day, it will end up in goals in the back of the net."
Rovers boss Mark Hughes admitted the result was rough on Newcastle, but was no less delighted by it.
He said: "It is probably a little bit harsh on Newcastle, but at this stage of the season, we are more interested in results.
"Even if the performance wasn't at the level we know we can achieve, we still got the job done so we are delighted by that."
Having seen the Magpies at close hand, however, Hughes is confident they will have enough to avoid the drop.
He said: "Yes, I think so. They have got enough games. This year, everybody accepts it won't be 40 points that will be the target to keep you in the Premier League, it will be less than that.
"What have they got now, 28 points? You would think given the games they have got ahead of them, they will obtain the points they need."