Two goals in five second-half minutes saw Plymouth pull a 2-0 win out of the fire after being given a searching examination by play-off chasing Mansfield.
Title-chasing Argyle had stuttered of late with only one win in six games and failed to get a shot on target until their 69th-minute opener when Graham Carey floated a free-kick to the far post from the right-hand edge of the box and Sonny Bradley headed home at the far post.
The points were sealed shortly afterwards when Krystian Pearce was booked for a foul on Carey 25 yards from goal and the Plymouth man's free-kick was unstoppable into the top-left corner.
Somehow Mansfield had failed to score in a one-sided first half.
Inside the first three minutes Ben Whiteman curled wide of the far post and Alex MacDonald forced Luke McCormick to save at his near post after Argyle were caught out by a quickly-taken free-kick.
Matt Green was just unable to lift the ball high enough to beat the keeper after reaching Gary Sawyer's short back header after nine minutes.
MacDonald wasted two more chances, firing over after great work by Matt Green and tamely volleying at the keeper while Rhys Bennett headed a corner straight at McCormick.
Argyle's lone first-half chance came when Carey curled a 20-yard free-kick just wide after 18 minutes.