The Magpies were on course for all three points when Fabricio Coloccini put the hosts ahead and Villa struggled to respond, misplacing passes and looking devoid of confidence.
However, the game’s big turning point arrived just before the hour mark as De Jong missed an absolute sitter, which seemingly sparked life into the visitors as they found an equaliser soon after.
The game was there for Newcastle to win yet somehow slipped away for the hosts, prompting McClaren to label it just one of those things in his post-match interview.
"I've just seen the Siem De Jong header that he missed. It's one of them things. Two minutes later they equalised. The conditions were horrendous," the Newcastle boss said.
"Anybody can beat anybody in the league. I said before the match this was a dangerous game. A settled side has helped the momentum. We might not win every game but we've made huge steps forward."
Georginio Wijnaldum did all the hard work, creating space and sending in a delicious ball which was met by De Jong only a few yards from goal - a glorious chance he somehow headed wide.
Villa at that point looked low on confidence and it would most certainly have been a case of game over for Remi Garde’s men as they didn’t look capable of coming back from two goals down.
But it was a game-changing moment and a piece of real ability from Jordan Ayew brought them back into it, as he swiveled on the edge of the box before firing in an unstoppable equaliser.
The draw doesn’t really help either club, with Newcastle hovering just above the drop zone and Villa extending their winless run to 16 games to remain at the foot of the Premier League table.