Goals from impressive trio Isaac Hayden, Matt Ritchie and Dwight Gayle, who struck twice, handed the Magpies a 4-1 win over Reading.
They did not have things all their own way - Garath McCleary levelled from the spot late in the first half - and still have issues to resolve on and off the field, but a crowd of 48,209 left St James' Park with a measure of the belief they had invested in Benitez in the wake of relegation restored.
Blackburn defender Shane Duffy scored two own goals in six first-half minutes before being sent off as the bottom club lost 2-1 at Cardiff.
Duffy also scored an own goal at Wigan on Saturday - meaning he had put the ball past Blackburn goalkeeper Jason Steele three times in under an hour's football - to become rather bizarrely the Championship's joint top scorer.
His misery was complete when he was sent off in the dying seconds, the frustrated Republic of Ireland defender received a second yellow card for kicking the ball away.
Danny Graham gave Blackburn hope 13 minutes from time when he held off Bruno Manga to find a gap at David Marshall's near post.
But Cardiff clung on to the win and, although no Bluebirds player has still to score this season after four games, it was a welcome result for new boss Paul Trollope.
The only 100 per cent record in the division was ended after QPR lost 3-2 at Barnsley.
A win would have sent Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's side to the top of the table, yet they trailed at the break to Marley Watkins' fourth-minute header.
Rangers would turn the game on its head thanks to two penalties, one converted by Tjaronn Chery, the other by Sebastian Polter, but Conor Hourihane levelled with a free-kick and Josh Scowen claimed an 89th-minute winner against a visiting side that finished with 10 men due to Grant Hall's dismissal.