This result earned Rovers boss Steve Kean, in his 50th match in charge, back-to-back wins for the first time since taking over in December 2010 and was deserved reward for a battling performance.
Blackburn shaded a first half long on set pieces but short on clear cut chances, although Ayegbeni Yakubu did have an early effort cleared off the line by Phil Bardsley for the home side.
But Rovers stepped up the pace after the break and took the lead from a trademark Morten Gamst Pedersen long throw which the Sunderland defence failed to deal with and David Hoilett pounced to volley Blackburn in front from 18 yards.
The Black Cats missed an opportunity to level through Ji Dong-won and Rovers sealed a priceless three points late-on as Yakubu had the simplest of heading opportunities from Bradley Orr’s cross.
The big striker pulled up his shirt to reveal a 'Pray for Muamba' message.
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Venue: Ewood Park
Blackburn scorers: Hoilett 58, Yakubu 87
TRIBAL ASKS: Are Rovers heading for mid-table safety?
Yellow cards: Campbell (SUN)