QPR moved a step closer to the relegation trapdoor, while Wigan's late draw might just prove to be crucial come the end of the campaign.
Harry Redknapp will be left to think what could have been as he saw side surrender two points late on with Shaun Maloney's fine free-kick cancelling out Loic Remy's breathtaking opener.
Bobby Zamora's crazy sending off was the game's turning point and after going so close to grabbing an unlikely win Wigan's late leveller will be hard to bounce back for the QPR players, while Roberto Martinez will be expecting better from his players after failing to make their numerical advantage count.
Redknapp made one change from the side that lost to Fulham with Adel Taarabt dropping to the bench and Junior Hoilett coming into the starting XI.
Martinez unsurprisingly named an unchanged side from the team that beat Norwich last time out with goalkeeper Joel keeping his place between the sticks ahead of Ali Al-Habsi.
QPR began with a 4-4-2 formation with Remy playing up front alongside Zamora and Townsend and Hoilett out wide to provide the ammunition for the strikers.
Full-backs Riether and John Arne Riise were given licence to get forward and they did that to great effect.
Martinez stuck with his tried and trusted 3-4-3 formation Arouna Kone supported by Callum McManaman and Shaun Maloney in attack and Paul Scharner, Antolin Alcaraz and Maynor Figueroa marshalling the rearguard.
Redknapp did not make his first change until after half-time when he brought on Nedum Onuoha for Armand Traore which meant a switch for Jose Bosingwa from right-back to left-back with Onuoha playing at right-back.
Jamie Mackie came on for Remy two minutes from time with the Frenchman getting a standing ovation from the home fans for his goal and his energetic performance.
Martinez waited to until just past the hour to make his first change with James McArthur coming on for Jean Beausejour to bring about a reshuffle of the midfield pack.
Franco Di Santo came on soon after for McManaman to provide more support for Kone in attack while Roger Espinoza was brought on for defender Figueroa in the closing stages as Wigan chased an equaliser after Remy's opening goal.
Phil Dowd was involved in the big talking point of the game with Bobby Zamora's red card and the official got it spot on.
The referee took his time to make his decision after Zamora caught Gomez on the head with a high challenge and taking the advice from his assistant Dowd decided to send off the QPR striker.
In a tetchy game Dowd also handed out five yellow cards with two to the home side and three to the visitors.
Andros Townsend was very impressive for QPR with the on-loan winger a great outlet for the home side especially after going down to ten men so early on.
Loic Remy also showed why he is so highly-rated as his goal was the outstanding individual moment in the game and was worthy of winning the game until Maloney's late intervention.
The Frenchman produced superb technique to crash an unstoppable side-footed first time effort past Joel Robles and into the top corner.
Wigan were below-par in the final third, but Maloney showed his prowess from dead ball situations as he curled his free-kick over the wall and into the net to earn Wigan what could prove to be a priceless point come the end of the season.
James McCarthy also deserves some credit as he produced another tireless performance in the middle of the park with the Republic of Ireland international leading by example with his approach to the game.
The draw probably feels like a defeat for QPR having gone so close to an unlikely win with ten men.
The point leaves QPR seven points adrift of safety with just six games left to pull off the great escape
Next up for QPR is a difficult trip to Goodison Park to take on top four hopefuls Everton. After that Rangers have two games they would see as winnable at home to struggling Stoke and away to fellow strugglers Reading.
Wigan will see this game as a missed opportunity having played against ten men for 70 minutes.
The draw was not good enough to lift Wigan out of the bottom three but they do have a game in hand over their relegation rivals.