The Magpies were largely expected to bounce straight back to the Premier League this season after relegation last term, but suffered back-to-back defeats to Fulham and Huddersfield Town to start the season.
Since the second of those defeats, however, things look to have clicked for Rafael Benitez's side, who have recorded five wins, 15 goals for and only one goal against in their last five league games, plus the 2-0 EFL Cup win over Cheltenham Town.
Newcastle United's Matt Ritchie in action with Bristol City's Bobby Reid.
They laid down their biggest statement of intent yet on Tuesday night with the stunning 6-0 demolition of QPR at Loftus Road.
Those recent results make it hard to argue with Ritchie's suggestion that suffering such a poor start to the season was the wake-up call that the relegated side needed.
The Scotland international told the Chronicle: "I did an interview after the second game, and you can imagine when I arrived everyone was saying: ‘You’ll romp the league, it’s yours already’. And I was saying to them ‘You don’t understand, this league is tougher than what you think’.
Newcastle's Matt Ritchie scores their second goal from the penalty spot
"I honestly do think that [losing the first two] was the best thing that happened to us. I don’t think us as players were taking it for granted, but I don’t think everybody in the dressing room was aware of how tough it was going to be this season. Especially for the fans as well, I think it made a few people realise these teams in the Championship aren’t that bad.
"Going into the third game obviously there was pressure from the fans - as they always is - and I think that was probably the turning point because the lads really stepped it up and put in a great performance. So yeah, losing the first two was probably a blessing in disguise."
Newcastle now look pretty unstoppable, and though they remain a point behind league leaders Huddersfield, it looks to be only a matter of time before they sit atop the summit.