Georgie Kelly the saviour for the Millers ... on-the-whistle report: Rotherham United 1 QPR 1
The centre-forward had been on the pitch for only nine minutes when he pounced at the back post in front of a baying North Stand to bring the visitors level in the second half.
It was a match the 22nd-placed Millers simply couldn’t afford to lose against a side one spot below them in the table.
They remain in the drop zone but can take heart from the fight they showed in adversity.
The Last Post and a minute's silence had preceded kick-off in this Remembrance Day fixture. Once the action got under way under a rain-filled, grey November sky, neither side asserted control in the opening ten minutes.
It took until the quarter-of-an-hour mark for there to be an attempt on goal as Ilias Chair took advantage of space on the Millers' right to cut inside and bend a shot wide.
In the 27th minute, a shot from Chris Tiehi lacked power but not direction and had QPR goalkeeper Asmir Begovic scrambling to to make the save and seconds later, as the home side started to press, Jordan Hugill lashed wastefully off target at the near post.
The striker then went through on goal down the right as he latched on to Sean Morrison's deft pass over the top but couldn't find Sam Clucas with his cross when he might have been better trying his luck himself.
Rotherham were without key man Lee Peltier, who had been filling in at centre-half, after the defender picked up a muscle injury.
His position went to another stand-in, midfielder Hakeem Odoffin, who was making his first start after a hamstring issue.
Another midfield man, Clucas, was chosen on the left wing as the Millers were forced to mix and match because of their injury crisis.
Chair went for goal again with the same result as earlier before the best chance of the first half saw Fred Onyedinma bringing a diving stop from Begovic following good work from Hugill.
QPR had arrived in South Yorkshire on the back of six straight defeats but were boosted by the presence of new boss Marti Cifuentes who was taking charge for the first time following the sacking of Gareth Ainsworth.
As the rain started to fall heavily, they took a 50th-minute lead when their best player, Chair, finally got it right and bent a stunning effort into the far corner in front of the away fans.
The Millers were now living very dangerously and a combination of keeper Viktor Johansson and a post denied Elijah Dixon-Bonner after poor play from Clucas had let in the Hoops.
Cafu glanced wide a 61st-minute header from Cohen Bramall's cross and Clucas was sacrificed in favour of centre-forward Georgie Kelly as the home side tried to respond.
Respond they did and it was that man, Kelly, who did the damage with a superb striker's finish at the back post from Bramall’s free-kick.
Johansson kept out Chair’s stinging shot as the match hung in the balance going into the final quarter of an hour.
Cafu sent over a pinpoint corner only for Odoffin’s header to come back off the woodwork as the home supporters found their full voice and roared on their team.
Jimmy Dunne was only inches away from connecting with a cross in front of the Millers goal and then, at the other end, Morrison fell in the box late on but no penalty was given.
Johansson somehow pushed out Charlie Kenman’s point-blank, added-time attempt and Sam Field drove the rebound wide.
In the end, it was honours even. Thank heaven for the keeper, thank heaven for Kelly.
Rotherham (4-3-3): Viktor Johansson; Dexter Lembikisa, Sean Morrison (Daniel Ayala 87), Hakeem Odoffin, Cohen Bramall; Cafu, Christ Tiehi, Ollie Rathbone; Fred Onyedinma (Tom Eaves 87), Jordan Hugill (Sam Nombe 71), Sam Clucas (Georgie Kelly 61). Subs not used: Dillon Phillips, Seb Revan, Arvin Appiah, Ciaran McGuckin.
QPR (4-3-3): Asmir Begovic; Reggie Cannon (Osman Kakay, 90), Steve Cook, Jimmy Dunne, Kenneth Paall; Elijah Dixon-Bonner, Sam Field, Chris Willock (Sinclair Armstrong 80); Paul Smyth (Taylor Richards 63), Lyndon Dykes (Albert Adomah 80, Charlie Kelman 90), Ilias Chair. Subs not used: Jordan Archer, Ziyad Larkeche, Stephen Duke-McKenna, Aaron Drewe.
Goals: Kelly 70 (Rotherham); Chair 50 (QPR).
Referee: Sam Barrott (Halifax).
Attendance: 10,199 (1,175).