The Ireland striker switched play to tee up Jonas Gutierrez, who in turn played a neat ball to Taylor.
His long range blast – hit more in hope than expectation – cannoned off the unfortunate Dann and bounced past Paul Robinson to hand Newcastle the lead they required after a pair of damaging defeats.
But the opener did not calm Newcastle nerves. Instead it appeared to galvanise the home side, who proceeded to dominate the half.
The formation didn't appear to help. On both flanks Newcastle were overrun and both Mike Williamson and Davide Santon, who is still getting to grips with the rigours of Premier League defending, were given a run for their money with little to protect them.
The first half onslaught began just 60 seconds after Dann's opener when Gael Givet connected firmly with a Morten Gamst Pedersen corner only for Danny Simpson to execute a brilliant goal-line block.
The defender has his critics but combined with a pair of similar efforts in home and away clashes with Manchester United it completed a hat-trick of superb last-ditch stops this season.
Undeterred Blackburn continued to drive forward, exploiting worrying gaps in the United defence.
Radosav Petrovic fired a looping volley just wide of Robinson's right-hand post before the recalled Fabricio Coloccini did his bit with a brilliantly executed tackle to prevent the flying Anthony Modeste from squaring matters.
Panic was beginning to disrupt Newcastle's defensive efforts. The crossbar took an inadvertent clattering when Pedersen's corner was nodded against the woodwork by a retreating Leon Best just minutes after Junior Hoillet had worried United's central defensive pairing with his lightening pace.
He drew a foul from Coloccini right on the edge of the box but wasteful Blackburn sent the resulting free-kick sailing over the crossbar.
Minutes before the break a mix-up between Williamson and Coloccini offered up a clear sight of goal for striker Modeste, but he somehow dragged his shot wide with the goal at his mercy.
Newcastle were living on their nerves and riding their luck. It couldn't go on and it seemed their fortune had finally bottomed out when Simpson clumsily hauled Modeste down as he attempted to advance on a smart Dunn flick.
Dowd rightly pointed to the spot but the Blackburn midfielder was denied by a smart Tim Krul save – the goalkeeper diving to his left to divert Dunn's penalty. Pardew sensed the way the wind was blowing and took emergency action at the interval.
The enigmatic Hatem Ben Arfa had been restricted by Blackburn's incessant pressing in the first half and he was the obvious candidate to make way for substitute James Perch.
More importantly, Pardew called time on his tactical experiment and Newcastle reverted to a more orthodox 4-4-2 formation.
They looked a mite more resolute in the second half but still Blackburn had their chances.
Somehow Dann nodded into the arms of Krul after being released a few yards out while Mauro Formica, a second half substitute, smashed into the side netting when he seemed odds on to score.
To rub salt into their wounds late sub Gabriel Obertan rolled home a second in stoppage time to ease any late nerves.