New boss Dave Jones was at Spotland to witness his new team in action and will know there is a lot of work to do if they are to achieve automatic promotion.
Joe Thompson's volley provided some early work for Owls goalkeeper Stephen Bywater in a bright start from the home side.
But Wednesday gradually exerted control and their height advantage posed a persistent threat to Rochdale's backline. Skipper Rob Jones twice sent close-range efforts narrowly over the bar while Danny Batth should have done better when he met Jose Semedo's corner with a downward header only to send it wide of the upright.
Former Rochdale frontman Chris O'Grady kept the pressure on the hosts with a couple of firmly struck shots and Dale were the more relieved of the teams to make it to half-time on level terms.
Kevin Long missed a sitter when Jason Kennedy delivery picked him out seven yards from goal, the defender side-footing over the top. Kennedy also forced a good save out of Bywater with a 25-yard drive while at the other end Ryan Lowe had the ball in the net only to see his attempt cancelled out for a foul on Dean Holden in the build-up.