Bent also managed to miss two penalties in the triumph.
Bruce was in no mood to blame his £10million summer signing for the misses having himself experienced the misery of failing from 12 yards during his playing days at Manchester United.
He said: "We mustn't forget he has won us the game. Okay, he is disappointed that he has missed two penalties, but all good players miss penalties.
"I have done so myself - I lost to Sheffield United and then I lost in Russia.
"I remember (then United chairman) Mr (Martin) Edwards saying, 'Thanks Steve, you have just cost us £12million'. Great players can miss penalties.
"No, in seriousness, we mustn't forget he has been fantastic and again, he has got two goals for us.
"It could have been a wonder-day for him, couldn't it? It wasn't quite, but he has been fantastic for Sunderland and these things happen.
"It made my life a little bit uncomfortable for a while, but it was a wonderful spectacle."