Match ends, Newcastle United 2, Chelsea 2.
Chelsea scored twice in the last 11 minutes to earn a point and deny Newcastle a first win of the season.
Ayoze Perez made the most of a lapse by Kurt Zouma to fire the Magpies in front and Georginio Wijnaldum extended their lead with a stooping header.
But Ramires reduced the deficit with a fierce 25-yard strike and Willian equalised when his free-kick from the left sailed straight in.
Ramires went close to winning it for Chelsea but saw his late header saved.
The manner of their late comeback makes this a point gained for the defending champions, but they remain in the bottom half of the table and are eight points behind new leaders Manchester United.
Newcastle stay second-bottom, a point ahead of north-east neighbours Sunderland.
Magpies show a new desire
Steve McClaren may still be waiting for his first win as Magpies boss, but there were many positives for him to take away from St James' Park.
McClaren admitted the club was close to a crisis after their midweek League Cup defeat at home to Sheffield Wednesday, but this was a display that will lift the mood on Tyneside, even if the result did not improve their league position.
An insipid start to games has dogged the Magpies in recent weeks, and they had conceded early goals in four of their previous six Premier League games.
Newcastle had also struggled going forward, and came into the game as the lowest scorers in the top flight.
They were much improved in defence and attack on Saturday, and were more of a threat than Jose Mourinho's men before the break - managing 10 shots at goal, by far their highest first-half tally of the season.
Chelsea lack bite without Costa
Newcastle's defence was tested far more after the break, and they were under mounting pressure when Wijnaldum escaped Cesc Fabregas to extend their lead on the hour mark.
At that stage, Newcastle had touched the ball only 15 times in the Chelsea half since the interval and the Blues were enjoying more than 89% of possession.
With Diego Costa suspended, the Blues were struggling to do much with the ball, however. Former Newcastle striker Loic Remy was unimpressive on his return to his old club, and Radamel Falcao failed to have an impact after coming off the bench.
It was down to fellow substitutes Ramires and Willian to give Chelsea the cutting edge they required in the closing stages, and it was clear how much they missed Costa.
He will be back for Chelsea's trip to Mourinho's former club Porto in the Champions League on Tuesday, but is unavailable for their next two league games at home to Southampton and Aston Villa because of his ban.
Newcastle's new-found resolve is likely to be tested again in their next match, away at Manchester City next weekend.
Man of the match - Ramires
Newcastle manager Steve McClaren: "A good result and a great performance, that's what we wanted. It's been a tough week and there was lots of pressure on the players today.
"That was more like it. We expect and demand a performance like that and they got the crowd behind them.
"You could see a determination in the players. Against the odds we grew into the game. The players showed real courage.
"Aleksandar Mitrovic has been missed and he can be a talisman for us. He is annoyed he hadn't scored but he can make a real difference for us."
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho: "We were so poor, so bad in the first half. It is possible to win the game with a good period but when you don't play for 45 minutes it's very difficult.
"I told the players at half-time that I have no time to ask them why they were so bad. I want to try to understand because I don't accept it.
"I am not a magician. I tried my best for the team. At half-time I said I was sorry I only had three subs as I wanted to change six.
"You cannot say that I react negatively, I complain, I am a critic. I laugh about it."
The stats you need to know
- Steve McClaren has not won a Premier League game in 11 attempts: seven at Newcastle and four with Middlesbrough. It is his longest run without a top-flight victory.
- West Brom are now the division's lowest scorers with four goals but Newcastle are second-lowest with five, having failed to find the net in four of their seven league matches.
- Jose Mourinho has never won a Premier League match at St James' Park in six attempts (D3, L3).
- Chelsea have conceded two or more goals in five consecutive league away matches for the first time since April to August 1992.
- 7SissokoSubstituted forde Jongat 90+2'minutes
- 4ColbackBooked at 33minsSubstituted forObertanat 54'minutes
- 45MitrovicSubstituted forToneyat 85'minutes
- 10de Jong
- 2IvanovicBooked at 68mins
- 21MaticSubstituted forWillianat 61'minutes
- 17PedroBooked at 90mins
- 8OscarSubstituted forSantos do Nascimentoat 73'minutes
- 10E Hazard
- 18RemySubstituted forFalcaoat 61'minutes
- 7Santos do Nascimento
- Martin Atkinson
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Newcastle United 2, Chelsea 2.
Pedro (Chelsea) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Pedro (Chelsea).
Kevin Mbabu (Newcastle United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Offside, Newcastle United. Ayoze Pérez tries a through ball, but Gabriel Obertan is caught offside.
Corner, Newcastle United. Conceded by Willian.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match Siem de Jong (Newcastle United) because of an injury.
Corner, Newcastle United. Conceded by Gary Cahill.
Substitution, Newcastle United. Siem de Jong replaces Moussa Sissoko.
Cesc Fàbregas (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Kevin Mbabu (Newcastle United).
Attempt saved. Ramires (Chelsea) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Willian.
Ramires (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle United).
Attempt blocked. Ramires (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Goal! Newcastle United 2, Chelsea 2. Willian (Chelsea) from a free kick with a right footed shot to the high centre of the goal.
Willian (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle United).