The Canaries, who took the lead through Wes Hoolahan, saw goalkeeper Mark Bunn dismissed in the 30th minute for handling outside his box before a penalty was awarded against Sebastian Bassong when the ball rolled down his arm.
Craig Gardner levelled from the spot for the Black Cats, but the home side failed to really threaten against the Canaries, who were again aggrieved when Danny Rose handled in the area in the second half, only for the free-kick to be awarded outside the box.
While many managers would have found fault with referee Chris Foy and his assistants, Hughton instead took the opportunity to praise his players for securing a point against the odds, with substitute Grant Holt missing a good chance to steal victory in the second half.
Hughton told Sky Sports: "Of course, everybody will speak about the three big decisions, but I owe it to this group of lads to praise them for the quality of their performance.
"To go down to 10 men after 30 minutes and to come out with the best chance of the game in normal play through Grant Holt - if his touch is not so heavy he is through one-on-one.
"I can't remember too many clear-cut chances that Sunderland had. They had a lot of shots from outside the box and a lot of crosses that we had to deal with.
"But I thought we threatened on the break, it was always going to be difficult for us, I can't praise them highly enough.
"I don't think there would be anybody in this stadium who would think we didn't deserve to get at least a point."
Norwich now have 34 points but Hughton insists they are not yet safe from relegation.
He said: "No. We have continually said the 40-point mark.
"I know there are others who have said they feel it will be less than that, but if you start talking less than that, there are too many teams around us and too many teams below us who are capable of winning games.
"You have only got to look at Southampton winning and Villa winning - all of these teams are capable of winning games.
"If we continue to look around that 40-mark, I think that's a fair assessment."