Leeds produced their best performance of a lacklustre season in the first half at Wigan, but still found themselves marginally second best in the final analysis.
Two tries in the minutes immediately after half-time did the damage, one set up for Pat Richards by George Carmont and the other scored by the Samoan centre himself.
Carmont, in fact, gave a handy demonstration of why Wigan are trying to talk him out of his plan to retire at the end of the season. His brand of unfussy efficiency will not be easy to replace.
There was no Gareth Hock for Wigan, in what would have been his second match back after his two-year suspension, but they still looked far more convincing than a patched-up Leeds line-up.
Kevin Sinfield's penalty, for Lee Mossop interfering at the play-the-ball, gave them an early lead, although that was soon wiped out by Wigan's first try of the night.
This time Brent Webb conceded a penalty for dissent and Joel Tomkins stood and spun out of a couple of tackles to get the ball to the unmarked Josh Charnley.
Leeds went back into the lead when Webb kicked through and Ben Jones-Bishop won the race to the ball. Jones-Bishop could have had another when he beat the Wigan defence on the outside. Leeds soon crossed again in any case, Sinfield's pass putting Webb over.
Richards made amends by winning Brett Finch's high kick and knocking it back for Ryan Hoffman to touch down, but Leeds deservedly had the last word before the interval when a very long pass from a very short player, Rob Burrow, put Zak Hardaker in at the corner.
Wigan struck right at the start of the second half when Hoffman won back the ball, Carmont fed it to Richards and the winger scored both the try and the equalising goal.
Three minutes later, Finch opened up the Rhinos' defence with a cleverly delayed pass for Carmont. Leeds still looked like a team who thought they could win, but a couple of promising situations came to nothing.
The Warriors seemingly edged a little closer to victory with Richards' fifth goal, after Jamie Peacock held down Jeff Lima, but Leeds kept up the pressure with a second from Hardaker.
Sinfield's touchline conversion made it a two-point gap and Danny McGuire had what would have been an impudent winning try disallowed. "I've no real grievance," said the Leeds coach Brian McDermott of that decision. "I'm just proud of the steel they showed."
Wigan: S Tomkins; Charnley, J Tomkins, Carmont, Richards; Finch, Deacon; Mossop, T Leuluai, Lima, Hansen, Hoffman, O'Loughlin. Substitutes used: Prescott, Tuson, McIlorum, Coley.
Leeds: Webb; Hardaker, Smith, Ablett, Jones-Bishop; Sinfield, McGuire; K Leuluai, Buderus, Peacock, Delaney, Jones-Buchanan, Clarkson. Substitutes used: Burrow, Bailey, Lauitiiti, Kirke.
Referee: T Alibert (France)