Manchester City had to cope with the unique experience of falling behind at Loftus Road tonight, but in the end, they had that familiar winning feeling as Yaya Toure's winner kept them five points ahead of Manchester United in the Premier League title race.
Coming off worst in a five-goal thriller will be scant consolation for QPR. They became the first team to take the lead against City in the Premier League this season, courtesy of Jay Bothroyd's fine header. And they had the spirit to respond through Heidar Helguson after Edin Dzeko and David Silva turned the match on its head either side of the break.
However, from Toure's 73rd-minute header, there was no response, Helguson coming closest when he struck the bar eight minutes from time before City claimed all the points in a 3-2 victory.
Yet, for all QPR's agonies, this City side are proving immensely hard to stop. Even if they only managed half the six goals they scored in their last away game at Old Trafford, they have now racked up 39 in 11 games, dropping only two points in the process and look more like title winners with every performance.
It was an enthralling contest, and hard to recall that City had been so lethargic for the opening half hour. With old boys Shaun Wright-Phillips and Joey Barton keen to do well, QPR put their opponents on the back foot.
Helguson turned a Barton corner back across goal but just out of Ferdinand's reach. Joe Hart was forced to parry a thunderous Jamie Mackie effort away as City struggled to cope without suspended skipper Vincent Kompany.
City fall behind
Not once during their flying start to the domestic campaign have City found themselves behind. Just before the half hour, it finally happened. Roberto Mancini could not be happy with the ease of QPR's goal either.
Barton sent a decent free-kick into the visitors' box but Bothroyd simply climbed highest in a crowded penalty area and sent a firm header into the bottom corner. City were rocking and Bothroyd came agonisingly close to grabbing a second when Helguson seized on a stray pass and picked the striker out with an excellent cross to the far post.
Bothroyd met it well enough, but the one-time English international could only turn away in despair as his header clipped the outside of a post. It seemed the visitors were there for the taking. But, like the champions they hope to become, they rallied quickly enough to haul themselves level before half-time.
James Milner started it with a surge downfield from inside his own half. He released the previously subdued Dzeko, who cut inside Luke Young and thrashed a shot into the bottom corner, his tenth Premier League goal of the season.
And City weren't finished there, with Sergio Aguero's well-struck effort bouncing back off the base of a post to provide QPR with a warning they would not even collect a point easily. If they thought a fine Barton shot that brought a sprawling save out of Hart straight after the restart would be a sign of things to come, they were sadly mistaken.
Forced off by a back injury during the UEFA Champions League win over Villarreal in midweek, Silva had returned to duty but not made much of an impression. That was until Dzeko picked up out with a low cross from the left touchline. The Spain star's next move had a touch of genius about it, even though it was so simple.
As the QPR defence waited for a touch to control, or even a dummy, Silva attacked the ball at pace, getting him away from Danny Gabbidon but with enough room in front of Ferdinand to blast home a fine goal.
It seemed QPR were doomed, but they rallied magnificently, and after Barton had gone close, Bothroyd met Armand Traore's cross and his goalbound header bounced in off Helguson. Once again, Loftus Road was alive with the electricity of fans who believed a famous win was on the cards.
However, City had no time for such dreams. Calmly, Kolarov strode down the left flank, then picked out Toure with a superb curling cross that invited a powerful headed finish. Helguson so nearly levelled near the end but it was the Blues celebrating once more at the end as they maintained their winning habit.